Summary: We all know Christ is coming. This series deals with what we should be doing in anticipation of His return.
PREPARING NOW FOR OUR FUTURE WITH CHRIST
Joshua 24:14-16; 1 Thess 5:2
Joshua 24:14-16 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.
15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." 16 Then the people answered, "Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!
1 Thessalonians 5:2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
INTRODUCTION: As we move into summer, we also move closer to that time when the Lord will return for us. This then begins an intense period of testing, trial, and tribulation upon the earth in general, and Israel in particular. The word tribulation literally means squeezing. Tribulation is a pressure that will ultimately bring a refined people and earth.
For us today, I would like to look at the value of preparation. The passages we have just read give us a glimpse at the value of preparation.
I PREPARATION ENABLES ME TO LAY OUT MY CHOICES
A Some Choices We Make Are Neutral
1 They are based on personal preference
2 They are based on style
3 The choice itself does not impact us negatively or positively
4 Biblically these are choices within the permissive will of God
a Need to know if activity falls within the permissive will of God or not!
James 4:13-15 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money."
14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
15 Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."
b We know by asking:
1 Lord we are about to make a decision regarding this matter
2 We are asking you for your desire in this decision
3 Please reveal your desire to us, or give us the peace that either choice is within your will for us.
B Some Choices We Make Have Tremendous Impact
1 Especially in light of the imminence of the rapture
a Imminence is a term applied to the coming of the rapture
b Meaning that there is no other event in biblical prophecy that must happen before the rapture can and will take place.
c The rapture could happen at any moment
2 Even though we cannot look forward and see when the rapture will happen, we can look backward.
a Bible is very clear on the events AFTER the rapture
1 7 years of tribulation
2 1,000 of Christ’s physical reign on earth
b Part of what happens during the tribulation period is that the Jewish Temple is restored – ie: rebuilt.
1 Today there is a tremendous amount of activity at the temple mound – the site of the original temple. People are excavating in order to find the exact place where the original temple stood.
2 Priests are being trained now in Israel to attend the temple
3 Harps are being made for the temple
4 Israel is ready to rebuild the temple.
c We need to be gone before the temple can be rebuilt
3 So, the choice we make now concerning Jesus may and will have a tremendous impact on our lives
a Why Joshua tells the people choose who you are going to serve
b Our choice of God will determine our path
1 Today we need to ask, will we serve Jesus or something else
II PREPARATION ENABLES ME TO LAY OUT MY PATH
A Considering My Past
1 Joshua encouraged the people of Israel to determine whether it was a desirable thing to follow God
2 He was asking them to look at the track record of God and make a determination
B Contemplate my present
1 Our choice now determines how we are going to live our lives
a What the Israelites choose would be the course of there lives
1 Serve the true God
2 Serve the false Gods
b Both choices had present time consequences
1 Whose side do you want to be on daily
2 What set of values do you want to have and keep
c We have the same decision today
1 Based on our past knowledge – what we know to be true, …