Monday, June 01, 2009

Be Watchful: Charles Haddon Spurgeon and the Apostle Peter

Here is a link to part of a message by Charles Haddon Spurgeon which warns believers to be watchful in easy times as well as hard times.

“We die daily,” said the apostle.

This was the life of the early Christians; they went everywhere with their lives in their hands. We are not in this day called to pass through the same fearful persecutions: if we were, the Lord would give us grace to bear the test; but the tests of Christian life, at the present moment, though outwardly not so terrible, are yet more likely to overcome us than even those of the fiery age.

It seems the good times may be ending, in which we may have allowed ourselves to forget what is important and give ourselves to wordly pleasures and cares. We all have done this to some extent, and now it is time to repent of our love of the world and turn back to the Lord before it is too late. If we don't we will either be deceived by the growing ecumenical religious system, or be unable to keep our faith in the face of persecution when we don't join in with the world system.
I speak first to myself, and then to all who still claim to love the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3

1 Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.


Daughter of Wisdom said...

Thank you for your post. Please continue to pray for the body of Christ, as many of us are unaware of the times we are living in. Just this past Saturday night I was at a Bible study, and many of the members were under the impression that the end times were somehow far off in the distant future. Some were even terrifed of what would happen and of the predicted persecutions, if it should occur now. I had to lovingly inform them that we are living in the end times now, and that the end times is not something in the distant future. Many came to agree with this.

Jennie, many in the body are ill-prepared. What can be done to prepare us much better? Any ideas?

Jennie said...

Hi Daughter of Wisdom,
My husband and I have seen the same thing, that many people haven't been watching and don't see the signs of the times. Even though I see the signs, I still have trouble with getting distracted by the cares and pleasures of the world and everyday life.
So I say to myself and all believers that we need to first 'humble ourselves and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways' so God will hear us and help us. We need to ask Him to show us our sin and convict us by His Spirit; then we need to be in His word and in prayer for each other constantly; we need to help and encourage each other by prayer and the Word. We need much more prayer each alone as well as all together as believers.

Elena said...

Um... Jesus said we cannot know the time and we should always be prepared. So just live your life the way your supposed to and let God handle the rest. I really don't see any point to all the handwringing.

Jennie said...

What's the purpose of the prophetic books? Jesus said 'see I have told you ahead of time,' so that we would be able to see the signs of the times and be comforted and prepared. Part of being prepared is being careful to repent of sin and live holy lives, looking forward to His return joyfully, even when persecution comes. When this happens, we'll need each other's encouragement, and prayer. It's encouraging to remind each other that the Lord said all these things would happen, and that His coming is soon.

Jennie said...

Here's a good passage from 1 Thessalonians 5: 1-11 that teaches what I was saying in my post and comments.
1 Thessalonians 5

1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Jennie,

What a wonderful and great passage that you quoted above in 1 Thessalonians 5!

This passage is great because it tells us what we ought to be doing as Christians. Paul advises us to "not sleep as others do but let us watch and be sober" (vs. 6). Here he is saying we should not get complacent (sleep), and that we should be viligant (watch), and keep a pure and sound mind (sober). He tells us to put on the "breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet the hope of salvation" (vs. 8). He is here using the symbols of armour with the words "breastplate" and "helmet." Armour was what the Roman soldiers used to protect themselves from enemy weapon attacks. Paul is therefore saying we should use faith, love, and the hope of salvation to protect us from the attacks of the enemy, because he knew that the enemy would try to attack and destroy us in these last days, and therefore the only way we can survive these attacks is by practicing faith and love, and by maintaining a steadfast hope and expectation in our salvation.

This passage has given me great insight. I am going to conclude therefore that persons, or even professing Christians who are complacent(asleep), who are not viligant(watchful), who have not kept their minds pure and sound(sober), who do not practice faith and love, and whose hope is in this world and not in the salvation Christ offers, WILL BE CAUGHT UNAWARES!

Please let me know what you think about this conclusion.

Jennie said...

I think you're exactly right about many being caught unawares.
The question is what does that mean?
I haven't written anything about the rapture yet, but I'll briefly say that my husband and I and many others
don't believe the bible is clear that the 'catching up' of believers is before the tribulation time. Also, even before this time there will probably be much persecution for believers everywhere. In the U.S. we have not seen this yet, except in small ways. But we will soon, I (and many others) think.
So being caught sleeping refers not only to Christ's actual return, but to the events preceding it as well.
It would be terrible to be so close to His return, which all ages of believers have longed for, and then to have lost faith. Jesus says in Luke 18:8
"Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Yes Jennie, you are right about persecution occuring before Christ returns. And yes, the Bible does not teach a pre-tribulation rapture. In Matthew 24:44-51, Jesus teaches what it means to be caught unawares in the parable of the unfaithful servant.

"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily, I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

I conclude then that we as Christians must therefore remain steadfast and faithful in our walk with the Lord, and not follow after the ways of the world(eat and drink with the drunken), or indulge in persecuting other Christians(smiting fellowservants). If we are unfaithful, then we will miss the signs of Christ's coming and be deceived along with the rest of the world into a false sense of security, and His coming will take us by surprise. When we think it's "peace and safety" we will be surprised by "sudden destruction." Those who are faithful and viligant will not however be taken by surprise, and will rejoice at the coming of the Lord. No "weeping and gnashing of teeth" for the faithful, but joy and happiness.