A-e012 The Lord is warning you : He is coming very soon
Spoken biblical teaching given by Henri Viaud-Murat
This evening, I would like to encourage us all by reminding everyone that Jesus is coming soon. We all know that Jesus is coming soon, even if no one knows the day or the hour. In our hearts, and through all that is taking place all over the world, the Holy Spirit is telling us : "Get ready ! The Lord is returning". Yes, the Lord is coming soon. In any case, He is coming for all those who yearn for Him !
If we keep focusing on the things that are above, and if we set our affections on the things that are on High, where our Lord lives, as soon as He comes, we shall be ready. Through faith, the Lord is alive in our hearts, but at present He is sitting at the Father's right hand, and preparing to return.
I sometimes say : "O Lord, I would like You to grant me grace to see the preparations being made in heaven for Your Bride, with the angels getting everything ready, and you, Lord, building and arranging our mansions !". In the Gospel according to John, in chapter 14, verses 2 and 3, Jesus said : « In my Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself so that where I am, there you may also be ».
I love to speak about heaven and the mansions awaiting us there, because everything up there is filled with the presence of the Lord. The Lord's Spirit is everywhere in heaven, where we shall see Him forever. The very thought of heaven, of the heavenly Jerusalem, and of the Lord's presence there is most comforting. Thus we can be greatly comforted and encouraged ; encouraged both to keep on preparing ourselves, and to win souls to the Lord. How wonderful to be in heaven with the Lord, when we compare this to the dreadful fate of sinners, and when we think of all the wonders the Lord has prepared for those who accept His salvation !
The Lord wants to speak to our hearts continually, to remind us that He is coming soon for the beloved Bride He is waiting for. Let us read the end of chapter 17 of the Gospel according to Luke, from verse 20 to verse 37 : « When He was demanded by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered and said : The kingdom of God does not come by observation : neither will they say : lo, here, or lo there, for the kingdom of God is within you ».
The Lord's presence is in our hearts, and where two or three are gathered together in His love, the Lord is in the midst of them. « And he said to the disciples : The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you will not see it. And they will tell you : see here, or see there : do not go after them, do not follow them. For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven to the other part under heaven, so will also the Son of man be in His day. But first, he must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation ».
I believe these verses are not only about the generation that was with Jesus when He was on earth, but also about the present generation that will experience His return. The Lord is going to suffer greatly in His heart during the days preceding His return, for as we can see at the end of the chapter, these days will be like the ones before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Lord's heart is filled with love for sinners, since he saved us out of our sin through His blood and His sacrifice. The Lord would like everybody to be saved and to learn to know Him. He is suffering even now, seeing that so many do not accept Him, do not seek Him, but forsake Him, and sink ever more deeply into violence, into sin, into occultism, although He offers them such a wonderful salvation !
The Lord is deeply grieved, for He will be rejected by the whole of this last generation. He is not speaking of the Church, of His Bride who is waiting for Him. In verse 26 He says : « As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be also in the days of the Son of man ». When he says "the days of the Son of man", He means the days preceding His return. In these days, it will be as before the flood, which came as soon as the ark was built. « They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all ». All those who were outside the ark perished.
The Lord also gives another instance : « Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot : they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. It will be thus in the day when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he who will be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away (too late, that would be useless !), and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife (her heart was still set on Sodom, so she became a pillar of salt). Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it ; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. (The one whose life is abandoned to Christ, who does not seek to save it by human means, and whose heart is not set on earthly things, this one will be alive in Christ) I tell you, in that night, there shall be two people in one bed : the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left ; two women shall be grinding together : the one shall be taken, and the other left ; two men shall be in the field : the one shall be taken and the other left. And they answered : Where, Lord ? And He told them : wherever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together ».
The Lord says : "wherever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together" : This can be interpreted in different ways, for instance : the eagles represent the Lord's angels who will come in the last days to separate the good seed from the tares, God's sons from the devil's sons, in the field, that is to say the world. When the time comes for the final harvest, they will separate the Lord's harvest and gather it into the barn. The body mentioned here is Christ's body. The Lord mentions dead bodies, corpses : eagles swoop down on carcasses and carry them off. They also carry off living bodies. In other translations, the term "vultures" is used. They are birds of prey which carry off carcasses. Spiritually speaking, these eagles are actually angels who will carry off the Church, Christ's body, which on earth is as a corpse, for its members are dead to the things of this world (but alive in Christ). The Church is no longer alive to earthly things, it has died and been raised from the dead. The angels will carry off the Church which has indeed died and indeed been raised. We must be wholly dead to earthly things, so that Christ's resurrection life may be manifested through us. Christ is speaking about the end times and the time when His Bride will be caught up. And He sets two examples : Noah and Lot.
This evening I would like to tell you some more about these two men. One of them, Noah, was a righteous man ; he and his whole family were saved by entering into the ark. He was the only righteous man at that time. And so was Lot in Sodom, but Noah and Lot are very different. Lot did not save his whole family, and he himself was barely saved. He was a righteous man, but he had chosen to go and live in the midst of Sodom, where he should not have been. In spite of that, the Word calls him a righteous man. However, these two men are very different. Noah was a righteous man who lived in the Spirit, walked in the Spirit, and lived in the Lord's victory. Lot was simply righteous, but there were so many compromises in his own life that he lived right in the midst of an ungodly city, although he himself remained a godly man.
Finally, Lot had to forsake all his belongings and part of his own family. He was barely able to save his two daughters. Unlike Noah, he was not faithful in everything. And it will be so in the last days when the Lord comes for the Church. He will come for His people, among whom He will only take the righteous, the ones like Noah and Lot. Some will be taken because they walked in complete victory, like Noah, and others will be taken because they are just righteous, like Lot, i.e. they do not live in sin. But their lives will not have been sufficiently filled with the presence of God for them to be living testimonies for those around them ; His presence will not have been great enough for them to save their families and to testify powerfully to those around them. If Lot was saved in spite of that, it is because he was righteous ; it is because in his heart he grieved for the sins of Sodom. He did not take part in those sins, but was not fully victorious as Noah and Abraham were.
2 Peter 2 also deals with the end-times judgement. We notice that this passage is about the last judgement and also about Noah and Lot, like the passage from Luke where Jesus' words are quoted. I'll read from the first verse onwards : « But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who insidiously shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction ». He is speaking of Christians who rejected the Lord, their Redeemer. Although they were freed from the bondage of sin and death, they rejected the One who had freed them. They became false prophets and false teachers. These Christians will not be taken. They were in the Body of Christ, but they rejected their Master, and became false prophets and false teachers. They will end in destruction and judgement. They will bring upon themselves swift destruction. « And many shall follow their pernicious ways; and the way of truth shall be evil spoken of because of them. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you : whose judgement now of a long time does not linger, and their damnation does not slumber. For if God did not spare the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved to judgement, did not spare the old world, but saved Noah, the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly... »
Noah is called a preacher of righteousness ; he was righteous himself and that is why he could preach righteousness. When someone preaches, it is not so much what he says that counts, but what he shows through his way of living. Others will be more affected by our lives than by our words.
Noah was a preacher of righteousness, wholly yielded to the Lord, because he himself was righteous. Actually, Noah did not save anyone except his family. We must not feel guilty when it appears that our ministry to others does not bear much fruit, when we do not win many souls to the Lord. He can allow for periods in our lives when we do not save anyone, although we do our utmost.
As Noah was a preacher of righteousness, he spent his whole life preaching the Lord's word, prophesying the destruction which was to come and speaking about the flood, saying : "I plead with you to repent and to walk according to God's will so as to be saved". But no one listened to him. Nevertheless, he did what God wanted him to do, i.e. he lived a godly life and proclaimed what God told him to proclaim.
« And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example to those that after should live ungodly ; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked (for that righteous man dwelling among them in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds); the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust to the day of judgement to be punished. But chiefly those that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise government ».
Uncleanness and rebellion, uncleannness and revolt are both typical of our present world. That spirit is afoot in the world and keeps gaining ground. The Lord is moving powerfully through His Spirit, in the hearts of the righteous like Noah or Lot, to show them that the flood - or the fire - is at hand. The judgements of the Book of Revelation are imminent. The Lord is speaking to the righteous, as He did to Noah and Lot, to show them that time is running out, that the ark is almost completed, that the last living stones are being added from all over the world to build up a spiritual house, the Church, and that soon the Lord will be coming for it.
Here is the Lord's call : "Enter in now, come into the Ark while the door is still open, while it is still time. Come out, get out of this world system, my people, lest you be overtaken by its judgements !" Noah had to enter in, and Lot had to get out. Noah was where he was supposed to be. Lot wasn't where he should have been. But in His mercy, God made him come out because he was righteous.
Needless to say, we must be like Noah and not like Lot. Although Lot is called a righteous man three times in this passage, he had accepted too many compromises regarding the Lord's Word. He had made the wrong decision in the first place, drawing so close to Sodom that he became one of its inhabitants. If he ceaselessly tormented his righteous soul because of the appalling things he saw in Sodom, it means that he was too close to sin. He should have acted according to Proverbs 14 :16 : « a wise man fears and departs from evil ». Lot had gone and settled in the midst of a place where God did not want him to be. That is why part of his family died, and why he barely saved his own life. If he had allowed sin into his own heart, he would have been lost along with the others.
I would like to go back to some verses in Genesis which show us these men's positions. In Genesis chapter 6, verse 1, we read : « And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God (who are celestial spirits, angels) saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took them wives of all that they chose ». This was definitely the consummation of a most dreadful abomination.
It still takes place today : men and women can have intercourse with demons, or demons with men and women. In the eyes of the Lord, it is indeed the consummation of the most appalling abomination. « And the Lord said : My spirit will not always strive with man, for he also is flesh : yet his days will be a hundred and twenty years », and in verse 5 : « And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually ». Do you realize ? Every day, every one of their thoughts was evil ! You see how wicked men had become. « And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him in His heart ».
This word affects me, when I remember that God, our glorious God who is filled with love and mercy, had planned such wonderful things for His creatures, a wonderful paradise on earth. The best things of His creation were designed for the man He had created, and whom He loved. This passage tells us that God was grieved in His heart. God grieved deeply in his heart on seeing what had become of the world. And I am convinced that today, the Lord still grieves in His heart when He sees the condition of this present world, because these present times resemble the times of Noah and of Lot. Jesus said that just before His return, things would be as they were in the times of Noah or of Lot.
The world is going to be as it was then. And except for a small number of righteous people like Noah or Lot, a number known only to God, there is a flood of uncleanness, violence and crime, which keeps rising. And it grieves God deeply.
It grieves the Lord to have to send destruction and judgement. He does not rejoice : He grieves, but cannot do otherwise. He would like every man to be saved. He has been patient for dozens of years, for hundreds of years. When Noah started building the ark, it took at least a hundred years, because of the building techniques in those days. And all the time people could see Noah and hear him preaching righteousness ; they heard his pleas and laughed at them. They made fun of the old man and his incredible message, instead of being pricked in their hearts, and repenting, and coming down on their faces before the Lord.
Now let's read verse 7 : « And the Lord said : I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repents me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah : Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God ».
Dearly beloved, this applies to the Bride of Christ today : she is righteous and upright, and she walks with God. Mere righteousness and honesty are not enough, because Lot was righteous and honest, but he did not walk with God. Walking with God means cleaving to Him and being wherever God wants us to be. Walking with God, walking according to the Lord's Spirit, does not mean absolute perfection, but simply being wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord. Uprightness means belonging solely to the Lord and avoiding all sin.
We have a great and unspeakable privilege : the Blood of Jesus. Sometimes I think we do not adequately appreciate the value of Jesus' blood. We are rather like the Old Testament high priest who entered the holiest place of all once a year with trembling. Now, however, in His infinite grace, through the Blood, the Lord allows us to come to His throne whenever we want to ! If we want to come to the holy place and enter it to have fellowship with God, we do not bank on our merits or our perfections. Nothing that we have done for the Lord can bring us close to Him.
This does not mean that we are not to serve God worthily, or not to bear gifts and fruit... But the latter are no basis for our fellowship with the Lord. In Hebrews, chapter 4, verse 16, the Lord says : « Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace ». We come through the Blood of the Lamb, the Blood that covers us and blots out our sins when we no longer want to walk in sin, when we acknowledge our sins before God, and repent whenever the Holy Spirit points them out to us.
Of course, to draw near to His throne of grace while living in sin is an abomination of the worst kind. One cannot enter the holiest place of all with sin-stained garments. But when we humble ourselves before the Lord, when we acknowledge our transgressions and say : "Lord, I confess my sins and come under your Blood", then Jesus' Blood is sufficient and it allows us freely to draw near to His throne of grace.
Then one is no longer guilty of anything in God's sight. We are often nagged by a spirit of guilt. We find it difficult to believe that God accepts us, when we know that our lives are still imperfect, when we still have failings that need to be corrected. This robs us of our assurance, because somehow we want to come to the Lord on the basis of our own merits. We say : "Lord, as You can see, today was quite a good day. I really made an effort today, and the result was quite pleasing. So this evening, I am in a position to pray to You more confidently". But this is not the Gospel of grace. We must simply say : "Lord, I really want to come into Your presence, just as I am. I beg your forgiveness for my shortcomings, for my failings, for my sins, and I do believe that Jesus' blood allows me to come, because Jesus has paid the price for me".
So I enter the holiest place with full assurance, and with fulness of joy, because my Father is waiting for me, and nothing separates me from Him any longer. Such is the Lord's righteousness, and it was Noah's righteousness in his time. He walked with God, in the light that he had then. He built an ark and made his family get into it, his wife, his three sons and his sons' wives. They were all saved. This encourages us. You can see that the only condition is to walk with the Lord and to trust Him, to be upright and righteous before Him through Christ's blood and through the grace God grants us in Jesus.
Walk with God and you'll be saved, you and your whole family. Walk with God in righteousness and holiness, and God will surely save all the members of your family, according to your faith. If you have faith for your distant cousins, then your faith will touch them, for they are part of your family. If you believe only for your children, your brothers and sisters, and your parents, then only they will be saved. You will be saved with your family if you are righteous and upright before God and if you walk with God. This is a certainty. Let's receive it into our hearts and never forget it, because we access it through faith. All is by faith.
Further on, in chapter 18, the Lord appears to Abraham with two angels, and announces to him what is to come. In verse 20 He says : « And the Lord said : because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous (it was the same at Noah's time when the whole earth was crying out. In this case it was the cry of the two cities and their regions ; they were abominable cities). I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me ; and if not, I will know ». Abraham interceded for these cities and called upon the Lord for mercy. He said : "Lord, if there are fifty, thirty, twenty, or even only ten righteous men, will you not spare the city for the sake of these ten righteous men, Lord ?" And each time the Lord answered : "I will spare the city". Abraham stopped at ten. He went no further. In verse 32, he said : « Let not the Lord be angry ». He was afraid lest the Lord would become angry. But the Lord would not have been angry, beloved ; if Abraham had kept on interceding until one righteous man, I think the Lord would have said : "If I find only one righteous man, I will spare Sodom". And that is what He did in actual fact. He did not destroy Sodom as long as Lot was there. Just one righteous man ! As I see it, it also proves that the end times judgements will not come until the Church is raptured.
For Noah and Lot, the judgement did not come until the small group of righteous people was removed from this sinful world, when they got into the ark, or left the city that was to be destroyed. The flood did not come until Noah was in the ark, and the destruction did not come until Lot had left the city ! Likewise, the great tribulation will not come until the Bride is raptured.
So God will not destroy this earth as long as there is a single member of His Church, of His Bride left. Abraham stopped at ten, but the Lord did not. In chapter 19, the angels arrived in Sodom. They were to spend the night in Lot's house. Lot sat at the gates of Sodom and saw the two angels coming. In those days, as it is still the case today with some populations, hospitality was a sacred duty. Lot took the angels into his home. Lot was at the city gates : that was where the leaders sat and judged the people entering or leaving the city, or those who requested a judgement.
Please remember that Abraham had asked Lot to choose : "do you want the mountain or the plain ?" he said. Lot looked around and saw that the mountain was barren. He saw that where Sodom and Gomorrah lay, the plain of the River Jordan was rich and fertile, with plenty of rain. Lot started making the wrong choice. He chose to go down rather than up ; he was like a righteous Christian who starts walking in defeat.
So you see, instead of going up, instead of staying in the mountain with the Lord, he chose to go down, lured by worldly wealth. Lot's heart began to be attracted. Lot began by pitching his tents towards Sodom, then he settled in Sodom, and finally he became one of the leaders of Sodom. Perhaps he said to himself in his heart : "I must give my testimony. I'll go there and give my testimony and try to save some of those people". But that was not the Lord's plan. That was not what the Lord wanted him to do.
Some people tell me : "It seems to me that the Lord wants me to stay in this unholy, apostate church because I still have a testimony to give". It may be the case for some, however I believe that in these end times, the Lord wants them to leave, which will not prevent them from giving powerful testimonies to those who want to listen. But the fact that Lot dwelt in this unholy city and became a leader in it, even if his heart still remained righteous, shows us the extent of his compromise. He was not like Abraham, who stayed in the mountains, gazing at the country, in the presence of God.
Then the angels said to Lot, in chapter 19, verse 12 : « Do you have any besides here ? Son- in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whatsoever you have in the city (that is to say all of Lot's household, including the servants and the whole family) bring them out of this place ; for we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spoke to his sons-in-law, who married his daughters, and said : "Up, get you out of this place for the Lord will destroy the city". (As you can see, he spoke words of truth from the Lord). But he seemed as one that mocked to his sons-in-law ».Lot did not have a powerful testimony because he lived in compromise : he had married a woman from the country, which he should not have done, and his children were already bonded to unrighteous families. His sons-in-law were men from Sodom who had married his own daughters. He had several daughters, two of whom were not married and whom he managed to save, and other daughters, we do not know how many, who were married to men from Sodom, since the latter were his sons-in-law. So he spoke to them, and it seemed to them that he was joking.
Verse 15 says : « And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot (just as the Holy Spirit insists all over the world and in the hearts of the righteous who still make compromises with this world. The Lord is insisting !) saying : Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here ». Since the other members of his family and of his household did not want to come, the angels insisted and asked him to take his wife and his two unmarried, virgin daughters. As a father, he still had authority over them. They were not married, so he could take them, and he did.
Then the angels said to him : Flee, « lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered... » It is saddening to see that even in an extreme emergency, when God sent two angels to warn Lot so that he could save his family and himself, he lingered... What was he doing ? Maybe he went to his safe to count his money, to see how much he could take, or to see how much baggage or jewellery he could take away with him. He lingered ! We must not be among those who linger before the judgements which are going to fall on this world. This proves that there was still compromise in Lot's heart. Although he was righteous (he was a man who loved God), he behaved like a compromiser.
« And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters ; the Lord being merciful to him : and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought him forth abroad, that he said : Escape for your life ; do not look behind you, neither stay ». This is also a word for the Lord's Church : neither look back nor stop. It reminds me of what Paul said to the Philippians : Looking unto Jesus, « forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press forward towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus », that is to say, continually looking unto the Lord, without allowing any hindrance. He pressed forward towards the mark because he knew what the prize was.
« And Lot said to them : Oh not so, my Lord ». You can see Lot's answer : instead of fleeing to the mountain with his wife and his two daughters, he said : "Oh not so, my Lord", which showed his unbelief. "I'll never manage !" He was complaining that he wasn't going to make it. But God would have waited until he reached the mountain, beloved, He would have waited ! Lot then found refuge in a small city, a small village he came upon. That was another favour the Lord granted him, because this small place was close to Sodom, and should have been destroyed as well. But since Lot took refuge there, it was spared.
However Lot's wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. Her heart was set on what she had left behind, so she was not saved. She was destroyed by the rain of brimstone. This reminds us of what I read from Luke 17 at the beginning : « He who shall be there, let him not go back to take his clothes, the one shall be taken and the other shall be left. Two men shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, the other shall be left ; two men in one bed, the one shall be taken and the other shall be left ». Why shall the one be taken ? Because he is a righteous man, yearning for the Lord. Why shall the other be left ? Because his heart is attached to this evil world, whose spirit he has accepted. He is not entirely devoted to the Lord. Sin had entered the hearts of those who stayed behind and were killed by the judgement.
That is what became of Lot's wife. She could have been saved, but her heart did not wholly belong to the Lord and was not even with her husband. So she died. Do you know what happened to Lot and his two daughters then ? Through an abominable act, by their own father, the daughters gave birth to two peoples, the Moabites and the children of Ammon, who were to become the fiercest enemies of Israel later on. You can see that Lot was saved, but because of his compromises and because he did not walk with God, his life on earth was one of defeat. Not only he did fail to save most of his family, since he only saved his two virgin daughters, but also both these daughters, who were saved on accouint of the righteousness of their father, hadn't righteous hearts. They gave birth to two peoples who were the enemies of Israel later on.
All this is the result of Lot's behaviour. So you can understand that although God considers us as righteous through Jesus' blood and the confession of our sins, it is still possible to live in defeat. All this shows us that it is possible to be taken only just, in the nick of time, and as through fire, after a life of defeat and compromise. God wishes us to live in victory so that when the rapture comes, we will be in a position of victory. Lot was saved as through fire. We must not think that this pleases God.
We can be righteous in God's sight, because we have accepted the Lord as our Saviour and have confessed our sins, and still hold a relatively pleasant position in this world, amidst lost pagans. I am not speaking of our physical presence in the midst of this world, but of the condition of our hearts in the midst of this world. Lot was in the midst of Sodom because his heart did not wholly belong to the Lord. And that is what God condemns.
As a conclusion, I'll come back to Luke. Let us be among those who answer the Lord's call in Luke 17, verse 33 : « Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it... » If you are trying to do your own will, if your heart does not wholly belong to the Lord, if it is not honest and righteous and desiring to walk only with God, then you may well lose your life. Not only is it likely, but if you seek to save your life in your own way, you'll certainly lose it.
Jesus goes on to say : « and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it ». This is the foundational spiritual principle of God's word. I would like to conclude with this, because it is vital. If we want to be part of the Bride who will be raptured in the end times when Jesus returns, we must hold fast to this spiritual principle in our hearts : « Whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it ». Let us ask the Lord to shed light in our hearts tonight concerning this word that Jesus spoke, "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose it shall preserve it".
This concerns all those who fully accept Jesus-Christ, in such way that they are no longer attached to anything from their past lives or from this world. That is how one can utterly lose one's life, how one can die to the uttermost. Jesus said in Luke 14:27 : « And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple ». The one who does not constantly dwell in Jesus' death regarding this world and regarding his past life, this one cannot receive the Lord's resurrection life and walk in victory. It can't be done. A divided heart cannot receive the fulness of the Lord. « Whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it ». Let's compare what we lose to what we gain, i.e. the very presence of the Lord, everlasting life, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the fact that we shall be taken to be forever with the Lord. And what do we lose ? Can it be compared, can you even measure the difference ?
And yet so many are attracted by evil and make the wrong choice. So many Christians lean towards the wrong things and make the wrong choice ! So many Christians keep one foot or one hand in this world, or remain attached to earthly things they are greatly interested in, things they cannot do without and are fond of, as Lot or his wife did.
Do you want to be among those who will be taken ? So do I ! Let's keep on walking in faith, in the simplicity of faith, in righteousness, in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord, in the simplicity of the faith and the grace that God grants us through Jesus' sacrifice. Let Jesus' death be in us permanently so that His life can show through us. Do you agree with this ? It is what the Word says ! I believe the Holy Spirit helps us to understand this. Paul said to the Thessalonians : « Wherefore also we pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of His calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith with power » (2 Thessalonians 1:11).
True, the Lord knows we cannot understand this with our human minds. And it is through the revelation of the Holy Spirit that He makes us understand these things. I don't think that God, somewhere up there, wants to hold back the revelation of the Holy Spirit, as if He were reluctant to grant it to us. But I do think that if we love the Lord, if we want to walk in His victory, and if we pray with honest hearts, saying : "Lord, I want to be filled with heavenly knowledge", I believe that it is the Father's will to grant it.
My heart is filled with joy and faith at the mere thought that God wants to reveal these things to me, since Jesus said : « You have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent (so we must not try to understand them with our human intelligence), and You have revealed them to babes » (Luke 10 :20). The babes are those who do not worry and who have complete trust in their heavenly Father.
If Lot was saved in spite of himself, so to speak, for he did not expect the Lord to intervene, it is because God saw his heart was righteous. If God saved Lot, like Noah and like Abraham, the father of faith, and like so many others who were men like you or me, men who were wholly devoted to the Lord despite their shortcomings and their problems, don't you believe that God will intervene on our behalf to reveal these things to us and to enable us to walk in them ? I do ! And I say : "Lord, here I am with a child-like heart before You. You know that my own mind doesn't enable me to understand these things. Cause me to read Your word through Your Spirit. I ask you, Lord, to keep on revealing the things from above, the things that are in Your heart, the things you want me to do and the attitude you want me to walk in". I believe that the Lord grants this. He does, because he did so for others. He wants to do it for me, He wants to do it for you. Our hearts must remain filled with this trust in our heavenly Daddy. "Lord, I'm nothing but a little child, and I cannot do anything by myself".
It's as if you wanted a little child to take a university class. He simply couldn't. But a little child can trust his Daddy who loves him. This is something a little child is very good at ! Haven't you noticed that with your own children ? A little child can trust his parents who love him. So we must even more trust our heavenly Father who loves us so much !
You can see how eagerly the Lord desired to save all these people we have mentioned and how powerfully He intervened to snatch them from the fire. Let's be like them. Let's be righteous and honest before the Lord. Honesty and righteousness go hand in hand ! It means saying : "Lord, I acknowledge my sins. I acknowledge my shortcomings. I acknowledge my disabilities. I acknowledge my problems and my difficulties". And when you do this before the Lord, when you acknowledge your impossibilities, then you are in a position to receive God's power. That is why God sometimes puts us into impossible situations, to show us that we cannot solve our problems on our own. When we are confronted with situations we are unable to solve, we look up to God and say : "Daddy, I can't, there's nothing else I can do !" And God steps in with His life-giving power. He is going to glorify himself !
So let us not be afraid of our impossibilities. Instead, let us turn them into opportunities for God to intervene. All we need to fear is a lack of consecration and a desire to to flirt with sin. Those are the things we must fear. But I'm not afraid of my human impossibilities for in God's hands they become assets. God uses the base things of the world and the things that are despised to confound the wise. The more unable you are in the sight of man, the more God will be able to manifest His glory through your life. Jesus said so, about the rich young man who refused his salvation because he lacked one thing. In his heart, he failed to give up his love for his great riches, so he remained unsaved. The disciples said : « Who then can be saved ? Jesus said : the things which are impossible with men are possible with God » (Luke 10:26). If only this young rich man had opened his heart to the Lord's grace, then the Lord would have helped him.
Let us pray : "Lord, I simply want to rest in You this evening, to rest in Your grace and mercy. Lord Your mercy is very great when I consider Lot's story and when I see how you stepped in to snatch him from the city before your judgements fell. All the more so can You keep those who cleave to You so as to walk with You as Noah did, he who was the only righteous man in his time ! Lord, I pray that we shall never take our eyes off Your almighty power, off Your goodness and Your mercy ; that we shall let you move in our lives, because our hearts are wholly yours. « Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof ». For tomorrow you have planned good things for us. Your compassions for us will be new again tomorrow. Lord, this evening, I bow before You. I pray that You will keep on filling me with faith from above, with the revelation of heavenly things, the revelation of your word, with power from on High, so that I may walk in the Spirit. I need all these things, Lord. They come from You, they are perfect gifts that come from You. I simply open my heart so that You may grant them to me, Lord. I want to receive all that You wish to give me, because I know You give in abundance. I thank You for granting this to my brothers and sisters so that they may be filled with You. I bless You, Lord. Make us into powerful instruments so that we can speak to others and show them Your grace in us. I thank You, Lord, in the name of Jesus-Christ. Be praised, be blessed, my God. Amen !"