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, …
2 What choice are we going to make concerning Christ
3 What values are we going to uphold
a) Understand that God is looking for us to end well, because we all started bad
C Compute our Future
1 Laying out my path now lets me see a glimpse of my future
2 Choose life without Christ
a Can live like I please
b Can do what I please
c And can hope when its over its over
d Chance on there being no everlasting life in my future
3 Can choose life with Christ
a Can live as God desires me to live
b Can act as God desires me to act
c Can rest assured that it is NEVER over
III PREPARATION ENABLES ME TO LIVE WITH CONVICTION
A When we see the choice of Christ, and accept what He offers we now have a life of absolutes
B We are not affected by the changing ethics of our world
C We are not left to flounder in morality
1 There is a sense of right and wrong
2 There is a sense of good and evil
D Preparation allows me to filter out the wrong and hold on to the good
Over the next several weeks we are going to look at preparing now for our future with Christ. Hopefully, we will look at our own personal preparation, our mutual preparation, and even our emergency preparation.
Before we go, I would like to put that last point into action – “preparation allows me to filter out the wrong and hold onto the good”.
This is in regard to a new movie, The Da Vinci Code This novel, published in March 2003 asserts that Leonardo Da Vinci painted clues in his artwork that reveal a different story about Jesus, to the point that he writes, “almost everything our fathers taught us about Jesus is false.”
Left alone, this novel, and film have the opportunity to affect our view or Christ, and hence our relationship with Him, and His place and message in our lives.
So, let us do a little preparation work, and see if the message of The Da Vinci Code squares with the Word of God.
The main premise of the book is that the “Holy Grail” , a much sought after relic in the Middle Ages, was not the cup Christ drank from at the Last Supper and which Joseph of Aramathea used to catch the blood of Christ on the cross, as many had supposed, but actually the blood line of Christ. The holy Grail is Mary Magdaline, the wife of Jesus, and at the time of his death the mother of his royal blood line, as she was with child. The Da Vinci Code claims that Jesus married Mary and had a child by her,, named Sarah. This child was born after his Crucifixion and married into the Merovingian kings of France.
So, first off The Da Vinci Code claims that Christ was married to Mary Magdalene.
Its source for this is the gospel of Philip, a Gnostic gospel that has as part of its text that Mary was a companion of the Savior and that He often kissed her on the mouth.
TDC says that the Aramaic word for companion meant spouse.
The gospel of Philip was written in Greek, not Aramaic, and the word companion in Greek (koinos) means just that companion or friend
The Bible uses the word to describe James and John as “koinonos” or business partners in Luke 5:10
The text they are quoting is a fragment, needing someone to make assumptions about it. “And the companion of the … Mary Magdelene … her more than the disciples and kiss her on her…
Some additional facts
There is no evidence in any of the writings of the NT or church fathers that Jesus was married.
We have no Scripture text that says Jesus was single
The gospel of Philip does not claim Jesus was married
Jesus did not have to marry because he was Jewish. Some 1st century jews choose not to marry – the Essences of Qumran
Jesus showed no special concern for Mary Magdalene when He was on the cross. He did not commit her care to John or anyone, but did with His own mother
Paul did not site Jesus as an example when stating that he(Paul) had a right to marry. He did site the brothers of Christ and Peter
1 Corinthians 9:4-6 4 Don't we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?
Jesus himself said that some people renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven
Matthew 19:12 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."
Did Da Vinci paint Mary Magdalene in the Last Supper?
Not as easy a question to answer, as we are asked to make a judgment on a painting or relief.
The entire picture is not an accurate rendition of the last supper
TDC claims that the “earliest Christian records” – the Nag Hammadi Texts are unaltered and record the real story about Jesus and early Christianity.
Problem is that this is not true
The Nag Hammadi Texts were written in the second and third century AD
Means EVERY book of the NT was written earlier!
Ultimately it comes down to what does the author of TDC believe about the Bible
The Bible is the product of man – pg. 231
The Bible as we know it today was a collated by the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine – Pg.231
The Bible teaches that it is not a product of collaboration of man, but
2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Peter 1:19-20 19 And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's lown interpretation.