Jesus Contact 25 – Final Contact

You Are a Temple of God

For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Cor. 3:17 ESV

Prior to Jesus’ coming, the Jews gathered in the Temple. After Jesus ascended, His followers gathered in the newly formed Church of Jesus Christ – which began as gatherings in homes and became formal places of worship and instruction. According to the above scripture, while church is translated from the Greek ekklesia, which means assembly, congregation, the whole body of Christian believers, it can also be inferred that a single believer can be a ‘walking church.’  Stay with me, I’ll come right back to this…

In the mid 90s A.D., the apostle John received a series of heavenly Holy Spirit-induced visions that we now know as the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ – the last place we come in contact with Jesus in scripture.

In these visions, Jesus presents Himself to John as He is now:

“Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” Rv. 1:17, 18. NASB

We see that Jesus has conquered death and is victorious over the devil.

Next, Jesus tells John to write down what He says in seven letters, to be sent to seven different churches, (the number ‘seven’ denoting a divine completeness). They consist of urgent warnings in how to correct wrongdoings that are taking place in each particular church.

So, given that a church is an assembly of believers, any church is at the mercy of the behavior of its congregants. You then, as a congregant (a ‘walking church’), have a direct influence on your church of assembly, as well as anyone you might come in contact with. You are an image of God, yes?

Thus, we can all learn on an individual level from what Jesus is about to say.

When He addresses the first church, He says that they have become ritualistic – more of a rigid religion than a place of love where Christ can be found. Jesus’ remedy is to return to your initial love and zeal for Him, keeping Christ as your centerpiece and to repent of any behavior that diminishes that.

It’s easy for our faith-related activities to become thoughtless robotic habits. We need daily dips in God’s word to remind ourselves of the infinite love that God and Jesus have for us and have been holding us in since we were all just creative thoughts in Their heads.

Jesus finds no fault in the second church. He recognizes that they are living in material poverty, but He reminds them of the far greater rewards of their spiritual abundance. Jesus also lets them know that He is aware of their persecution by devil-inspired unbelievers. He tells them that if they remain steadfast in their faith in opposition to their detractors, their reward will be eternal life.

Not everyone is blessed with material abundance. As long as your lot in life is not due to sloth, you can seek God, knowing that you’ve done your best, and ask Him to provide what you need:

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on….But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Mt. 6:25 & 33. NKJV

The part about the devil’s minions’ persecutions? Unfortunately, that’s a given. The closer you get to God, the more severe and frequent are Satan’s attacks. But don’t forget who’s running the show, and that He’s on your side:

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 Jn. 4:4 NKJV

Jesus speaks to the third church, warning them that they have polluted their doctrine with worldly behavior and false religion. He commands them to exercise immediate repentance.

The only doctrine that belongs in the church is the Bible. As far as repentance is concerned, we all need to have an alarm button in our heart that sounds when we transgress God’s word. Seeing as how we don’t know the time when we will exit this world, we want to make sure we are right with God every second.

The fourth church has allowed a ‘false prophet’ into their assembly, who has been leading congregants down a satanic path. Again He demands immediate repentance, with a full-faith return to Him and His gospel.

You know when a fox is in the henhouse. It’s when they are teaching something contrary to scripture. It is your duty to correct them (or the church make the correction, should your efforts fall upon deaf ears) lest they be expelled.

The fifth church has forced the Spirit to depart from them because of a lackadaisical approach to their church performance. Jesus tells them to repent, return to His truth and live it out accordingly.

Jesus has only praise for the sixth church – encouraging them to remain steadfast on their current path.

Conversely, Jesus had nothing good to say to the seventh church, which was full of ‘lukewarm’ believers who had no conviction and whose focus was on material things. But He didn’t just leave them with admonitions, He encouraged them as well:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore, be zealous and repent.” Rv. 3:18 NKJV

Jesus loves you so much, He cares so much, that if you mess up, He’s going to bust your chops to try to nudge you back onto the right path.

At the end of each letter, Jesus had John pen an encouragement to the churches by telling them what their rewards would be if they remain in faith and obedience:

“To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” Rv. 2:7 NKJV

“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.” Rv. 2:10, 11. ESV

“To him who overcomes I will give some hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name which no one knows except him who receives it.” Rv. 2:17 NKJV

“The one who conquers and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations…And I will give him the morning star.” Rv. 2:26 & 28. ESV

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before HIs angels.” Rv. 3:5 NKJV

“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.” Rv. 3:12 ESV

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne…” Rv. 3:21 NKJV

Jesus builds a wonderful case for sticking by Him and walking in His footsteps. Later in John’s visions, He lays some urgency on the matter:

“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” Rv. 16:15 NKJV

Why the warning? Because Jesus want you to be there with Him:

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…Then I, John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Rv. 21:1 – 4. NKJV

And in our final Jesus contact, we see that Christ will spearhead the way:

“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly!” Rv. 22:20 NKJV

Well, okay, let’s clear up that ‘contact’ stuff. This is indeed the last scriptural Jesus contact. I hope you have enjoyed and found value in them.

However, we, the children of God, can also make continual and eternal contact with Jesus Christ through the Spirit. Thank God and hallelujah!

Goodnight and God bless.

Jesus Contact 21

Preparing For Jesus’ Return

Jesus is surrounded by a large crowd, and He takes that opportunity to tell them a parable that alludes to His ‘second coming.’

“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at the table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!

But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Lk. 12:35 – 40. ESV

Christ is saying that it is vital we get our spiritual house in order, to the best of our ability (in right-standing with God) before He returns (or before our earth suit wears out – whichever comes first), or it will be too late! Salvation will no longer be available. Jesus speaks again to this urgency:

“And why do you judge even on your own initiative what is right? For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there, make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I say to you, you will not get out of there until you have paid the very last cent!” Lk. 12:57 – 59. NASB

Jesus is trying to get the people to see that their salvation is standing right there in front of them (He being their spiritual ‘opponent’ at that point – due to their heretofore rejection of Him). He’s also letting them know that they must grab hold of that salvation before they have to stand in front of the judgment seat. Jesus sums it all up with a call to action:

“…unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Lk. 13:5 NKJV

Christ travels to the region of Perea, where He expounds upon the same critical lesson to another crowd:

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. when once the Master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, “Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you where you are from. Depart form Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.” Lk. 13:24 – 28. NKJV

You can say you are a follower of Jesus, but you have to do the following…

Addressing yet another crowd, Jesus speaks to some raucous Pharisees within – teaching everyone that salvation was His way or no way:

Until John came, (John the Baptist) there was the Law and the Prophets; since then the good news (the Gospel) of the kingdom is being preached, and everyone strives violently to go in [would force his own way rather than God’s way into it.] Yet it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away that for one dot of the Law to fail and become void. Lk. 16:16, 17. AMP

And just in case anyone is thinking that they can be elevated from hell to heaven, Jesus tell the crowd (to point to the Pharisee’s love of money) a parable about a rich man who ignores a beggar who lived outside of his gate. Upon both of their deaths, the rich man finds himself in hell, but he sees the beggar with Abraham in heaven. The rich man pleads to Abraham to send him water. Abraham replies:

‘…between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ Lk. 16:26 NKJV

Jesus is letting us know that when our time has expired, our thoughts and actions will have determined out final destination – one which is written in stone for eternity…

In the beginning of 30 A.D., Jesus and the apostles are beginning their final journey to Jerusalem. Passing through Samaria and Galilee, He encounters (you guessed it) a group of Pharisees, who ask Him to tell them exactly when the kingdom of God will come. He responds by telling them that they are looking at the kingdom right now – in the person of Himself and in the hearts of all those who follow Him.

Then Jesus turns to His apostles and says:

“The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them! For as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in His day.” Lk. 17:22 -24. ESV

Jesus is preparing His disciples for the times when they will long for their Savior’s return, warning them that they will be vulnerable to the false claims of others who profess to be the Messiah, or, contend to know HIs whereabouts.

He is urging them to ignore those events because His return will be global in its impact. Jesus continues painting the picture of His second coming:

“But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will also be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, they drink, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the Ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all…Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” Lk. 17:25 – 27 & 30. NKJV

Jesus is inferring that His disciples need to continually warn non-believers about the compelling urgency of accepting Him as their Savior and getting their life right with God, because the devastation that follows His return for those who don’t, will be as severe and final as the flood of Noah’s time. He is telling them that just like then, many people will stay mired in the affairs of this world until it’s too late. A great separation is coming:

“On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife.” Lk. 17:31, 32. ESV

“I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left.” Lk. 17:34 NASB

You have to be ready when Christ returns, by having both feet firmly planted in the kingdom of God. Jesus will accept no ‘fence sitters’ (e.g. Lot’s wife). You are either with Christ or you become one of those who are ‘left behind.’ And being left behind, does not look like a good place to be:

“Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.” Lk. 17:37 NASB

Yet Jesus is so full of compassion. He leaves His followers with hope by relating a parable (Lk. 18:1 – 7.) to illustrate the importance of faithful persistent prayer for one’s heavenly outcome. The parable tells of a widow who had suffered an injustice at the hands of an adversary. Distraught, she took her plight to an unbelieving and unjust judge, who initially ignores her pleas until her persistent reappearances in his court changes his mind; and then justice is meted out.

God, being the ultimate ‘just’ judge, will not let the persistent prayers of His children go unanswered.

Jesus immediately recounts an additional parable to the apostles (Lk. 18:9 – 13), where there was a Pharisee and a ‘tax collector’ (the lowest occupation in the social strata at that time) who went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee boasted about his self-righteousness, claiming that he was so much better than the sinners around him. The tax collector on the other hand, would not even raise his eyes towards heaven. Instead, he beat his chest and cried out to God – begging Him to have mercy because of his sins. Jesus finishes:

“I tell you that this man went down to his house justified rather than the other, for everyone who exalts himself while be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk. 18:14 NKJV

It’s a warning about the danger of arrogantly believing that one’s own righteousness will usher them into the kingdom of God. Only the righteousness conferred upon you by Christ when you accept His salvation, will make that connection for you.

Arrogance is not accepted in those who would try to enter. Jesus drives that point home soon thereafter, when, while He was teaching another crowd, they brought their children to Him so that He might lay His hands upon them. The apostles tried to shoo them away, but Jesus delivers a rebuke:

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, will by no means enter it.” Mk. 10:13 – 15. NKJV

Simple faith and humility are the keys to entering heaven.

To be continued…

Good night and God bless.