Journey 2010 is about living in the will of God. It is about what John said in 3 John 1:4 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” God’s Will, God’s truth will always be corrupted and thwarted by unrighteousness “Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”
ABOUT END TIMES
I want to reveal the single greatest motivation we as Christians have for walking in the truth. This revealing involves “end times” teachings. Most of us are very curious about the “end times”. Most people respond to surveys saying they want to know more about the Book of Revelations.
Let me give you this about that. Curiosity is not the proper reason to study Revelations. Jesus gives us the proper reason to study the Word or the End Times Book of Revelations: “Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” If your study is motivaFrom the ted by your personal hunger and desire for righteousness, God will satisfy you, He will teach you. But if you are only motivated by curiosity or the pride of ‘knowing’, you will come away not knowing, not being satisfied. You will be confused.
Some may question my teachings as not being in line with what you believe is correct especially among Southern Baptists. But allow me to clarify: The Southern Baptist Faith and Message is extremely vague about the end time teaching in the Bible. Here is what the Southern Baptists believe about the end times:
“God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.” (2000 Southern Baptist Faith & Message)
Our belief’s must not be based upon what someone else has taught us, not even what I teach. Each one of us has the Holy Spirit as our teacher. What we must do is search and study the Scriptures. The truth must be within you and it must be based upon what you have studied and struggled with. Don’t accept at face value what I say or what others say. Study to show yourself approved (“dokimos”) unto God, a workman who is not ashamed, but who rightly divides the truth!
1 John 3:1-3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
John says the truth of Christ’s 2nd coming and uor resulting change into His glorious body is the Hope That Purifies Us.
1 Peter 1:22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
So this truth of our FUTURE transformation when we are face to face with Jesus Christ is to motivate us in the PRESENT to obey His truth and in so doing become PURIFIED or CONSECRATED (agnízō – in 1 John 3:3) to God, which is what living in His Will and walking in His truth is all about.
I have read that in certain countries, hunters capture monkeys using a very simple but effective trap. They make a hole in a hollow tree and put a banana in it. The hole is big enough for the monkey’s hand to go in but not for its fist to come out. A monkey would then reach in and grab the banana. It then tries to pull its hand out while grabbing on to the banana to no avail. Its closed fist would be too big for the hole. For the monkey to be able to pull its hand out it has to drop the banana. But hunters are well aware that monkeys will not let go of the banana and that the monkeys will kick and squeal when the hunter approaches but they refuse to let go of the banana. They refuse to let go of the bait and so become captured.
Today I want to challenge each of us to “let go”. If we are to Live in the Will of God, we must “LET GO”
Jesus was approached by a young man …
(The Message) Matthew 19:16-22 Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.” The man asked, “What in particular?” Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.” The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?” “If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.” That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.”
The disciples were blown away. They thought “if a rich man doesn’t deserve heaven, who does? Then they reminded Jesus that they had left everything. And Jesus commended them saying:
(continuing in verses 28-29) “In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life.
The young man was told by Jesus he must let go of his riches if he wanted to have eternal life. Our churches would be a lot smaller if we told people that today! And yet, Jesus insisted that in order to follow Him, we had to be willing to let go of everything this world has:
Luke 14:25-27 One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.
SO TO WALK IN GOD’S WILL WE MUST LET GO!
Let Go of What?
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. Matt 5:13
If you consult with salt experts, they will tell you that salt never loses its taste. Never, not in a million years. It is a mineral and will stay the same. That’s why people who question the truth of the Bible cite this verse as one that proves their belief. Let’s consider this verse further.
The word for lose its “taste or savor” is “moraino”, applied to the mind – stupid or silly (1 Cor 1:20 – God made foolish (moraino) the wisdom of the world); applied to the taste –insipid or bland; (as in salt losing its savor). Moraino is the root of our English word “moron” = very stupid person.
Elsewhere in medicine moraino is used of the slackness, fatigue or dulling of the nerves. Moraino is also used in respect of the sluggishness of animals in winter. With reference to men the use of moraino is predominantly psychological. In this context, moraino implies censure on man himself; his acts, thoughts, counsels, and words are not as they should be. The weakness is due to a specific failure in judgment or decision.
Now in this verse,most people believe it refers to normally ‘salty’ believers losing thier ‘saltiness’ and having no effect upon the world. It is true that Christians only lose their “saltiness”when they make wrong judgments and become like the world. In effect they are “contaminated”. This is how many Biblical scholars explain the salt losing its’ “moraino”.
Ancient Dead Sea salt, unlike our modern, refined table salt, did lose its flavor. The salt is not pure sodium chloride, but NaCl mixed with other rock and mineral matter; and if allowed to get moist, the NaCl would dissolve out and leave behind a pile of tasteless crud. Thus, in order for the salt to preserve its savor, contamination had to be kept out of it. This explanation makes sense to all but scientists, because to them, salt is still salt. It keeps its qualities 10,000 years, because it is a mineral.
There may be a better understanding of what Jesus had in mind, which will silence the scientists.
Recent Archeological Discoveries
In the Cultural Dictionary of the Bible, John J. Pilch, Ph.D. who teaches Scripture at Georgetown University, points out that the Hebrew and Aramaic word for “earth” may also mean “oven”. Many cultures of Biblical times used an earthen oven, an oven made of clay. Moreover, in the Mediterranean world, wood was a scarce commodity. They used abundantly available camel or other animal dung as fuel. Salt was used to dry out the dung patties, and a block of salt was placed at the base of the clay oven as a kind of catalyst to make the fire burn. Recent archeological discoveries confirm this use. “…in all the ‘salt’ passages of the New Testament, salt is presented in its function as an aid to making fires burn rather than as a seasoning or preservative agent.” When the salt lost its ability to stoke the fires, it was thrown down as gravel on muddy roads.
Factoring into the translation these cultural connotations, Pilch translates Matthew 5:13 as “You are the catalyst (salt) in the earth oven. But if the catalyst (salt) has lost its catalytic ability (saltiness), how shall its catalytic ability (saltiness) be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by human beings.” (Cultural Dictionary of the Bible by John J Pilch, 1995)
- “You, my disciples, are salt for the hearth (or earth oven)… an image that reminds me that you are also the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-14)
- “Salt is good [an excellent thing], but if salt has lost its strength and has become saltless (insipid, flat), how shall its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the land nor for the manure heap; men throw it away. He who has ears to hear, let him listen and consider and comprehend by hearing!” (Luke 14:34-35, Amplified Bible)
- “You are the fire making and sustaining agent in the earth oven. But if that agent has lost its ability to maintain a fire, how shall that ability be restored? This salt is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out. People can step on this solid block of salt in an otherwise muddy road.” (Matt 5:13, with a very logical lead into “light of the world.”)
- “For every one will be salted in order to burn. Salt is good, but if it has lost its ability to start and maintain a fire, how can that ability be restored? Be salty, but stay at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:49-50. Notice the repeated mention of fire in the context from v. 42 to these verses. Another logical lead into the salt statement.)
- “I came to light the earth oven; would that it were already kindled” (Luke 12:49, then notice the subsequent discussion of family conflict and division, vv. 51-53).
- “Salt is good. But if salt has lost its ability to start and maintain fires, how can that ability be restored? This salt is fit neither for the earth oven, nor for preparing the fuel (the dunghill). People just throw it away.” (Luke 14:34-35).
If you doubt the fire making qualities of salt, go to YouTube and type in salt water into fuel and watch salt water burn: Salt Water into Fuel
Jesus provides further insight into what it means to “LET GO THE SALT” in Luke 17:
Luke 17:20-37 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”And he said to the disciples, “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 the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 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 let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
When it comes to the end times, when it comes to Jesus Christ’s return, don’t worry about your stuff, don’t worry about your car, that precious music box your grandmother gave you, your unfinished chores, your crops needing to be harvested, the money in the bank or the gold buried in the back yard. No, when it comes to going to be with Jesus, he gives one and only one warning:
Remember Lot’s Wife!
If you want to go with Jesus, don’t look back. Don’t long for the world. When God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, the angels warned Lot and his family, do not look back. It is all going to be burnt up just like useless dung. So when Lot’s wife looked back, God said, “O, you like that dung? Well then I’ll turn you into salt to help it burn even more!”
She was burnt up and became useless salt, contaminated by the dung of the world. Or perhaps God was saying “You Love that Stuff? Here, now you can help fan the fire!”
Now let me connect the dots, and scratch some saints.
- 1. The return of Christ is our greatest motivation to live the Will of God
- 2. Contamination by the world and all that the world offers will make us useless for nothing except road gravel.
- 3. When it comes to the rapture, will we go to Christ if we look back?
Wait a minute Mudpreacher! All my Christian life I have heard about the Rapture. I have thought about it, desired it, wondered what it will be like! Everyone gets to go, don’t they? To answer that question, we must look at the warnings of Jesus:
Let’s consider some other warnings that Jesus gives about the end times:
Don’t Look Back (Love not the World)
- Genesis 19:26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
- Luke 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”
- Hebrews 10:37 “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”
Wake Up and Watch
- Matthew 24:36-44 36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
- Matthew 25:1-13 1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
They had oil, but it ran out. They had the Holy Spirit, but had He become Quenched to the point of no power to light their lamp? (If you Deny me to the world, I will deny knowing you, as the bridegroom said.)
- Mark 13:35-36 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:1-7 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
- Romans 13:11-14 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Scripture offers this about becoming sleepily involved with the world and its lusts:
James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Titus 2:11-14 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Overcome and Endure
- Revelation 2:26-28 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations–‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’– as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.
- Revelation 3:10-13 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 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. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
- 1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (they walk in the truth)
- 1 John 5:4-5 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
- John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Love His Appearing
- 2 Timothy 4:8. “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing.”
- Hebrews 9:28 “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
Do not be ashamed of Jesus
- Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
- Hebrews 10:35-38 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:”For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back (ashamed), My soul has no pleasure in him.”
- 1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
This expression is very peculiar. It means to “be ashamed from Him.” (Wuest) Sounds like you might not get to go!
DOES YOUR LIFE DEMONSTRATE YOU ARE WALKING IN THE TRUTH?
If we live our life in love with the world and all it offers. If we are so busy living that we forget Jesus Christ, we never mention to our friends we are His follower, if we get involved in sinful relationships and activities that the Holy Spirit shrinks from…You may even come to church and sing songs and look ‘Christian’. But God’s eyes are like a powerful MRI that can see inside every bit of us. He knows our heart. He knows our secret desires. He knows what you love. Your secrets will be exposed. I believe the Rapture could be a major step in that process. If anything is clear in God’s Word, it is that God is the one who judges, it is God alone who we must face. God will make known to the world the those ‘secret desires’ we may hide from others. What better way than to be left behind and have to explain to your friends who will say “I though you were a Christian! Why didn’t you get raptured?”
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
LOOKING FOR OUR BLESSED HOPE
Regardless of our beliefs about the rapture, we can be assured that there will be a rapture. God’s Word is clear on that. As we seek to live in God’s Will, the one great motivation we must have is in Titus 2:13:
Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”
Why might some be taken and others left until His second coming?
He needs His Holy Warriors, to prepare them for the final battle. I believe Jesus will rapture His soldiers that He will need to battle the Beast and the prophet and the nations. He must put is through a heavenly boot camp to prepare us to battle. You go if you can make the cut. You are left if your heart is not ready. Jesus says, “If you love the world, why don’t you go through the tribulation and learn to despise it, learn that I AM GOD! As Jude says:
Jude 1:14-15 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
3000 years ago God gave us an example of what happens to His people when they don’t forsake the world. The Hebrew children wandered in the wilderness for 40 years until they died off and the youngsters came of age. The worldly Hebrews had to die because they would have made terrible soldiers. They would never have been able to take the Promised Land. God had to give an example to their children, an example of the need for obedience to Him. Joshua had his army, but they had to be warriors un-entangled with the world. They had to hate the world. They had to war against the world. We must be of the same mind if we want to be raptured and join Jesus’ Army!
What about the wedding feast? I thought THAT took place after the rapture! We are the Bride and we will be married to Him! Read your Bible. The marriage feast is not mentioned until Revelations 19 and 21, AFTER the new heaven and earth.
Today, on Jebel Usdum (Hill of Sodom) on the Dead Sea’s western shore, stands a pillar of salt known as “Lot’s Wife.” This monument is a perpetual reminder of a woman who allowed her human nature to turn her from the express command of God. In a critical moment she took her eyes off the goal. Christ warns that we cannot allow the same to happen to us.
You can get all hissy at me and say, “I can’t believe you don’t believe all Christians will get raptured!” You can keep on thinking that you can live any old way you want, and it doesn’t matter. You can say you love Jesus and keep on living as YOU think is best, you can keep on following the world and living like the rest of the world. But you are closing your eyes to the warnings that God has in His Word. Jesus said “Remember Lot’s Wife!”
HEED THE WARNINGS
If you do you are reading a different Bible than I have. I read this Word and I am in fear, I tremble before this Holy God. I cling to Jesus as my righteousness. I cling to Him because without Him I am burnt toast, I am dung.
We must learn from those before us, who as the Hebrew Children, loved this world, loved Egypt, and did not let go. They did not enter into God’s Rest, they were too in love with the world, with Egypt. They were poor warrior who washed up in the desert boot camp. They missed the call to fight because as 1 Cor 10:5 says
with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. …. Paul warns us: Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
Paul said in Phil 3:8 “I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ!
I don’t believe Paul ever took His salvation for granted. He never allowed His life in Jesus to make Him proud or arrogant or self-righteous. He was confident, but only in Jesus Christ and His living in him.
Are you walking before God in humility, in reverence, in Holy fear? Is your confidence solely in Jesus Christ and His righteousness? Or are you living your life as you think best? Are you so in to the world that you would hate for Jesus to come back right now and interrupt your plans?
Are you ready to Let Go the Salt in 2010?
I think this morning the best way we can remember Lot’s Wife is to visually let go of the salt. If you want to get serious with God about living in His Will and walking in His truth, I would like you to come forward and pickup this 50lb salt block and then let it go! Let’s tell God we are serious about living in His will and walking in His Truth! Everything else is Dung. It will all get burnt up-so why are you holding on to it? Do you want to be caught looking back when the Rapture happens? Are you willing to take that chance?
I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna let go the stinky salt!