Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Concerning the Times and the Seasons - James Tharp

The apostle Paul felt the Holy Spirit's urgent call to prepare believers to be ready for Christ's return. He is simply following the same admonitions given by Jesus. Jesus refused to answer the disciples' question concerning the time of His return; He was faithful to describe the signs of the times preceding His return -- 
"Many will come in My name, saying 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many; wars and rumors of war; nation will rise against nation; famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places; tribulation for believers; false prophets; because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold; this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:5-13)
The apostles Paul, Peter, and John and the author of Hebrews shared Jesus' concern that His followers be ready for His Second Coming. They did not want them confused, misled, deceived, or spiritually dead. 

We are called to consider the times and the seasons, remembering that the culture will not be conducive to our thinking in terms of watchfulness and hope. Later in his call to watchfulness, the apostle Paul lists I Thessalonians 5:11-22.
1. Comfort one another.
2. Warn the unruly and comfort the fainthearted.
3. Rejoice always.
4. Pray without ceasing.
5. In everything give thanks.
6. Do not quench the Holy Spirit.
7. Despise not prophecies.
8. Test all things.
9. Hold fast to what is good.
10. Abstain from every form of evil.
But the apostle knew that no believer would be able to comply with all these imperatives apart from the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit within them. That’s why he added this prayer: "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Thessalonians 5:23)

And, as if the believer might doubt the Spirit’s presence and power to sanctify, the apostle adds in verse 24: "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it."
Every Christian needs the power of the Holy Spirit in his or her life to discern the times and draw upon the power of the Spirit to live in holiness and power to be ready for the coming of Christ. God never meant for us to live the Christian life on our own power. We need to pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and we need to repent when we grieve, quench, or disobey Him. And then we need to ask for His fresh fillings of the Holy Spirit.

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