Waiting For Jesus

Message Outline – January 21, 2017

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. (1)Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, (4)That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, (3)And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. (2)While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”(Matthew 24:42 to Matthew 25:13)

Personally, I am thankful for the prophetic tone of recent messages. Prophetic messages are necessary to guide us into the times ahead.

God has promised to speak to us prophetically so that we know the times, just like “the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” (1Chronicles 12:32)

Waiting for Jesus is really watching (as our text states repeatedly). Jesus taught that we must watch for his return.

Verses 45 to 47 (1)reveal that watching for Jesus’ return involves authority for the believer, and provision through the believer for the family of God and for those outside Christ. (Refer/compare to when Jesus questioned Peter three times, “Do you love me?” When Peter answered yes, Jesus replied,”…feed my sheep”. (see John 21:15-18).

But while waiting for Jesus, the church has become just like the people and religious leaders of Jesus’ day, waiting for the King of Kings to return and set up his physical government in the earth and rule the nations with a “rod of iron”. (see Revelation 19:15)

However this fails to account for the true nature of the everlasting Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God will crush every kingdom of this world (see Daniel 2:35), but this happens one person at a time as God reaches you and me with his everlasting message of mercy and salvation, replacing all other “kingdoms,” erasing all other nationalities, and ending all other loyalties. The kingdom of God is an inward kingdom, of the heart. The rebellion of the nations, led by Satan at the end of one thousand years of perfection (see Revelation 20:7-9) proves that the everlasting Kingdom of God must rule the heart.

Be reminded that God calls us to seek him with our whole heart (in parallel with Pastor Jon’s message – that we love the Lord with all of our heart), because when we seek him with our whole heart, then we will find him (see Jeremiah 29:13).

But in contract to this, the parable of the ten virgins reveals that the whole church has fallen asleep(2), and many are double minded (double mindedness is better understood in the original languages as “having two hearts,” or literally, “a heart, and a heart” (see Psalm 12:2), and ultimately being double minded results in not being ready for the Lord’s return. This is revealed in the fact that the wise virgins could not “give” their oil to the foolish – and as a result the foolish were left outside.

In the parable, the oil had to be purchased at a price, it was not free. The ten virgins represent the church, and the “price” of the oil is our life that we forsake in order to truly learn Christ inwardly. We cannot be his disciple unless we forsake all, and in particular forsake our life and our will in order to truly follow Jesus. Otherwise we are merely imitators of Christ, walking in the flesh, having a form of godliness but not bearing his image naturally and as a result of his Spirit (resurrection) flowing through (quickening) us. In verse 51 (3)Jesus calls that hypocrisy. (A hypocrite is someone who is not what they say they are).

However to those who forsake all, Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you, that he (God) shall make him (the believer) ruler over all of his goods”(4). In other words, all of the riches of the Kingdom of God are available to those who seek God, and whose hearts are not divided. The result today is the same as in the parable, the wise have oil in their lamps, meaning that all authority, discernment, and limitless power of the Holy Spirit is ours when we seek him with all our heart.

This message today is a call from God to wake up from sleep. There is no finger pointing in this message, because all of the virgins, the wise and the foolish, all slept. Today we all need to wake up and watch. It is a desperate hour.

The biblical pattern of God’s mercy in a desperate hour is that he first sends his (prophetic) word to awaken his people. When that does not work, judgments follow. In an effort to awaken more and more of his people, judgments escalate.

God is so patient, and it is not his will that any should perish. But ultimately he will thrust the church into the position of providing or being left outside.

It is the promise and the will of God to give “every spiritual blessing in heavenly places with Christ” to his church (see Ephesians 1:3). Plainly stated, when we awake to Christ and give him our whole heart, there will be no lack, God will be plainly seen in us, and those in the world seeking light will come to us.

“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:14 to 5:16)…

…(Quoted from Isaiah 60:1 to 60:3)
“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”

Jesus is coming. God is calling. “And what I say to you, I say to all. Watch.” (Mark 13:37)

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Prayer and Fasting

Immediately after filling Jesus, the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness to fast and pray. Fasting, as a biblical discipline, is practiced primarily to increase faith (or dissolve unbelief, see Mark 9:29), and is mentioned repeatedly in scripture for that reason.

When fasting is ignored, a great disservice is done. Since our battle is against principalities, powers and spiritual wickedness, we need every spiritual weapon offered to us. The amount of scriptural evidence for fasting should convince Christians everywhere to practice it.

I have encouraged you in previous posts to allow the word of God to wash away all of your doubts. But now, also let the word of God completely transform your view of things. We see men, and the effect of their unbelief as sin dictates their actions. But we need to see beyond that, to spiritual realities. The forces who originated this rebellion against God must be dealt with, we cannot avoid it. And whether or not we understand how power over Satan is obtained through prayer and fasting, we need it, and should trust and follow Jesus’ example and instructions.

In my experience, practicing fasting is far more important that understanding fasting. You don’t need to answer every question regarding how and why. Simply believe, Jesus said. Every example of prayer and fasting in the Bible demonstrates that faith increases, power increases, and victories are won. And that is all you need to know.

It should be acknowledged that fasting is easy for some individuals, difficult for others, impossible for some people, and also impossible in certain circumstances. No one should ever be proud of their ease, or embarrassed by their struggle when fasting. Neither should anyone feel guilty if they simply cannot fast. Although it is very valuable, fasting is not obligatory. God gives different abilities to each of us, and His plan includes times and seasons for everything. And fasting has absolutely nothing to do with punishing or buffeting the flesh, there is enough adversity in everyday life for that.

So, learning to fast one meal or two in the beginning, and extending the length of time as spiritual hunger increases is recommended. Keep in mind that God is more than patient while we learn, and if we think we have mastered anything, we have not. God looks on the heart, sees our spiritual hunger, and guides us every step of the way. Learning the faith building, power producing practice of fasting is no exception.

Fasting is by definition, “to not eat food,” and there are two main types of fasting in the bible.

  1. A Public or Proclaimed Fast called for in times of national or spiritual crisis and entered into by the entire, repentant, congregation.
  2. A Personal Fast performed simply out of an individual’s hunger for God, with the power obtained having a great variety of personal and corporate manifestations.

Then there are three methods of fasting.

  1. Partial fast – John Wesley (for example) would eat nothing but bread for various periods of time. In captivity, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego ate only pulse and water. At the end, the king of Babylon “found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” There are no health concerns restricting the length of a partial fast.
  2. Normal fast – Luke 4:2 “And in those days he did eat nothing.” Jesus had no solid (or liquid) food, only water. A normal fast should not extend beyond 21 days (the time when excess fatty deposits are all used up and the body starts to convert protein and muscle, harming the body).
  3. Absolute Fast – In the Book of Ester they fasted from food and water for three days. An absolute fast should never extend beyond three days.

Although Moses, Elijah and Jesus experienced miraculous 40 day fasts in the bible, a normal fast should never extend beyond 21 days.

Fasting, like praying and giving, should be a private matter between you and God. (Matthew 6:18)

A highly regarded, expert resource for biblical fasting is Arthur Wallis’ book, “God’s Chosen Fast.”

And an excellent video teaching is available at http://media3c.tscnyc.ws/2016/04/10s2/20160410s2.mp4

Fast and pray… you will not be disappointed.