Summary: If you believe the end is near, then what are you doing about it?
September 1, 2013
Text: Isaiah 44:1-8
Title: Preparing for the End
You can’t go anywhere today where Christians are gathered without hearing someone talk about the imminent return of Christ. I can say without any doubt that the majority of us here today have thought about this topic probably in the past few weeks. But what makes us think that things are any different now than they were a hundred years ago? Every time an earthquake is reported, every news report of war and human atrocities around the world we think, “How long o Lord?” We read in the bible about what the end times church will be like… 1 Timothy 4:1-2, 1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. So wouldn’t you agree with me that according to these things it seems like Jesus could come back at any time? Now these all point to the second coming, but in those passages referring to the church it is about the falling away that comes in the end. Notice that the “church” is not exempt fro the great apostasy…
But what about the great revival that is coming? Where do we see that in the bible? Matthew 22:1-8, 1Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
4“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
5“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
Read Isaiah 44:1-8,
1 “But now listen, O Jacob, my servant,
Israel, whom I have chosen.
2 This is what the LORD says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
5 One will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’;
another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
still another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’S,’
and will take the name Israel.
6 “This is what the LORD says—
Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.
7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
and what is yet to come—
yes, let him foretell what will come.
8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
We need to be prepared for the end…
I believe this is God's Word…
I believe it is for me…
I accept it as mine…
And I appropriate it to my life today…
I. What is the position of the servant in the end times? 1) in position to listen… “But now listen, O Jacob, my servant… the word translated “listen” or “hear” (KJV) shama` (shaw-mah') to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience… When God says listen, what is it that He wants you to listen to? His word… everything else that He is about to say is hinged on being attentive and obedient to what He is about to say. So every servant of God… isn’t that what we are… is supposed to listen and do. You are listeners. Faith comes by hearing… you are doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 2) you are chosen… You are a royal priesthood and a chosen people. That’s what the Holy Spirit said through the writing of Peter. In these verses the Lord is referring specifically to Israel. But in the bible whenever there is given a general promise to Israel, it is meant for all believers. 3) formed… This is what the LORD says— he who made you, who formed you in the womb… Does it have any impact on y0our faith at all when you stop and think that before you were formed in your mother’s womb God knew you and He chose you? But He didn’t stop forming you when you were born. He is the great potter who is still forming the clay into the vessel He wants it to be. You are being changed into His image from glory to glory… the NIV says, with ever increasing glory… when you hear and submit to God’s will you become more like Him in an increasing pattern. The more you are obedient, the more you become like Him. 4) You in position to be helped… who formed you in the womb, and who will help you… go back to the idea of listening and obedience. Do you think for one minute that you could be obedient to the word of God on your own? Many people try to do that and they fail miserably and end up worse than they were before they started. They aren’t grounded in the word. They aren’t obedient to the word. They aren’t even listening to the word and yet they think that because they made a profession of faith at some point in their lives they can just take control and make everything all right. No, if God said He would help you that must mean that you can’t do it on your own. You need a helper and that is the Holy Spirit. In the NKJV Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the Helper four times. 14:16, 16And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper… 14:26, 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things… 15:26, 26“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 16:7, 7Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. Oh Hallelujah!!!! Is anybody listening today? God wants to help you. 5) Because of God’s help you can operate out of position of fearlessness… Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant… Who wrote this passage? I know it’s in the book of Isaiah but who is the author of the book? The Holy Spirit! If the Spirit of the Living God tells you to not be afraid what do you think that means? If He has commanded you then it must mean that He has given you the help in order to equip you. A lady stood up in a Pentecostal meeting one time and prophesied, “My children. Thus saith the Lord, do not be afraid. Fear not. Be of good courage and do not be afraid for I am with thee. But if thou art afraid it’s all right because sometimes I get scared too.” Isaiah 35:4, Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”