The Day

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“The Day!”

Seacoast Church Online Service

Sunday 7th June, 2020.

There have been a couple of scriptures jumping out to me this week – and they reflect themes that keep coming up in conversation and prayer.  I’ll get to them in a moment.

But firstly, it has been fantastic seeing some of our connect groups and prayer groups getting back together this week.  Everyone seems to be saying how wonderful it is to be back in fellowship again – and I know what they mean.

A dozen of our church leaders gathered together this week to discuss our steps forward, with the slight easing of Covid restrictions…

And I was surprised how incredibly good it felt to simply be together – and  share our lives together again – to laugh – to find the Holy Spirit’s leading together – to step into that place of being the church together in real life – not just through a computer screen.

I know we are all expectant of what might be new and fresh and different about our Christian experience post the pandemic.  

But I have to say – I don’t think anything will ever take the place of genuine, caring, loving relationships that have the undergirding vision and purpose of extending the kingdom of God on earth – and bringing glory to Him.

Being the church together – and not just on Sundays – is our best way of doing that so far.  

I believe there will not be a taking away of anything precious we have had up to this point – but in fact there will be an adding to it.   And I can’t wait to see what that looks like.

This first Scripture that I want to share with you this morning affirms that.   It’s a Scripture I’ve used a number of times lately.   And in some ways it’s not directed specifically at all of you who are part of the church.  

But it does speak to us all in a bigger picture sense.

It’s Hebrews 10:25 – and I love reading it from the Passion Translation.

This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”

My focus is not so much on the pulling away part.  It’s actually more on the “anticipating the day dawning” part.

But before we move on to that… I found it really interesting that when the bible speaks about the neglecting meeting together, to neglect actually means to abandon.  And that’s a fairly strong word.

In the Greek, it refers to someone who is “extremely discouraged.”

People don’t pull away from church life on a whim.  For some reason they have become discouraged.  

I don’t know about you – but that makes me feel really sad.  Not angry, not judgemental, just really sad.  

Sad for those who pull away – and sad for the church.  What a loss.

I’m not talking about salvation.  Going to church isn’t about whether you are saved or not – and neither is leaving.  

But it is about relationship and finding our way together in building the church – which is Jesus’ plan!

Anyway – none of us is any better than another – so let’s just continue to pray for one another – that God would use all of us to His glory and purposes.

So then this Scripture says, “we need each other,” and we should actually be meeting even more often.

There are very good reasons for this.  Because we are much better together.

Ps. 133:1 – “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together in unity!”

It goes on to say that it is like precious oil being poured all over us.    It’s like the dew of a new morning.   

But here’s the thing – it also says that in that place of unity and dwelling together, God commands His blessing to come.  The blessing of life!  

Life that is full of hope – full of faith – full of love – full of power – eternity – triumph…

We are together so that we can encourage one another onward – in life.  

Not to discourage – but to encourage!

Why?   Because we are anticipating that day dawning.

When Paul wrote these words, everyone knew what the “day” meant.

Jesus said to them, before He ascended into heaven – I’m coming back again.  It speaks of His second coming – not as one of us – but in all His glory and majesty.

And we have many scriptures that speak about that day.

1Thes 5:2 – “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”

Phil 1:10 – “that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,”

Which leads me to the other scripture that seems to be shouting out to me at the moment.

2Thes 2: 1-12,  (Passion)  “Now, regarding the coming[a] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him,[b] we plead with you, beloved friends, 

not to be easily confused or disturbed in your minds by any kind of spirit, rumor, or letter allegedly from us, claiming that the day of the Lord[c] has already come. 

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. Before that day comes the rebellion[d] must occur and the “outlaw”[e]—the destructive son—will be revealed in his true light. 

He is the opposing counterpart who exalts himself over everything that is called “God” or is worshiped[f] and who sits enthroned in God’s temple[g] and makes himself out to be a god.[h] 

Don’t you remember that when I was with you I went over all these things?

Now you are aware of the ruling power[i] so that he may be fully revealed when his time comes. 

For the mystery of lawlessness[j] is already active…,”

Let’s just pause there:

Have a listen to some of the words used in this scripture.  No matter what version you use – they are all similar.   

Firstly, there’s lots of rumours – people being easily confused and disturbed – lots of false claims…

Deception – rebellion – outlaw – destruction – lawlessness!

Wow – was this written in 2020?

I look at the riots shown on TV, the looting, the burning of buildings, the destruction, the lawlessness that is prevailing in the United States – and it makes me think that this scripture was written for today.

What is in the heart of man that we would witness this uprising of violence?

I think that’s the real issue.  What is in the heart of man?  So much pent up anger and hatred, a sense of violation, of injustice, a feeling of suppression and discrimination.  Hopelessness.  Lack of meaning.

It’s like the people’s response to violence and injustice from authorities is for even more violence and destruction to be perpetrated from them.  One crime deserves to be countered with another.

Lawlessness – it’s happening before our very eyes.

The scripture goes on:

“but the one who prevails[k] will do so until he is separated from out of the midst.[l] (Praise God for that!)

Then the “outlaw” will be openly revealed, and the Lord will overthrow him by the breath of his mouth[m] and bring him to an end[n] by the dazzling manifestation of his presence.[o]

The presence[p] of the “outlaw” is apparent by the activity of Satan, who uses all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, spurious wonders, 

10 and every form of evil deception in order to deceive those who are perishing because they rejected the love of the truth[q] that would lead them to being saved. 

11 Because of this, God sends them a powerful delusion[r] that leads them to believe what is false. 12 So then all who found their pleasure in unrighteousness and did not believe the truth will be judged.”

What a relevant scripture for today!  Why would we be surprised?  The Word is living and powerful to all generations.

So here’s the thing.  If the people of God want to do that journey on their own – without the support – the encouragement – the unified blessing that covers those who dwell together in unity…. Then that’s their choice.  We continue to keep our hearts open and soft towards all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  

But I’ll tell you what I think.  I know I need you!  I need you to stand with me and my family as the day gets closer.  And I want to stand with you and your family – to build up your courage – to help strengthen you with the Word of God.

Do that mean I’m weak and lacking in some way?    No!  I know who I am.   And it means I believe with all my heart that Jesus Christ and His Church are given to me as the greatest gift ever – for my good!

I love it that Paul brings this message that says – don’t get caught up with all the confusion and get disturbed in your mind.  

In other words – stay focussed on Jesus – remain steadfast on what you know to be the truth.  Stay grounded in the Word.

It’s a call to let peace and calm reign in your life.  It’s a call to stability and to pray for clarity of mind.

We need to guard one another from deception in these last days.  Because it’s not just about knowing the word of God or believing it.  It’s about loving it.

It’s when we stop loving the truth that we get led astray.  

It’s when we start loving the things that tickle our ears – the deceptive voices – the false prophets – the love of unrighteousness rather than the love of truth – that’s when we become vulnerable and led astray.

I watched a documentary the other night on people who confess to being broken sexually.

And one man was saying, I can’t believe how I was deceived into loving sexual addiction and being unfaithful to my wife – as opposed to loving the truth and purity of God and His Word.

Sometimes we have to check ourselves and ask – what is it that I really love the most?

There’s a very sobering scripture in 2Timothy that has the heading:

Perilous Times and Perilous Men

2Timothy 3: 1-5,  “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 

2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 

3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 

4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 

5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

I can see now that deception comes – not because the truth isn’t right there before our eyes – but because of what we love more than truth!

If you don’t hear anything else I say this morning – hear that!

It’s certainly about what you believe – but it’s also about what you love.  And when you love something else more than what you truly believe – it’s devastating.

Getting back to the scripture…

This is speaking about the great apostasy – which is the falling away of God’s people because they are deceived by the the outlaw – 

the destructive son – the AntiChrist…. 

Some versions say he is the man of lawlessness.

Others say he is the son of perdition, which means, the son of destruction, of damnation, of ruin and of perishing.

And they will not be able to discern the power behind the miracles and signs and wonders that he performs…. The power that is actually Satan.

I know these are heavy words – but we are facing a world that is about to bring forth this man who will sit as a god but have nothing of our God in his heart.  

And we need to be prepared.  And we need to be together.  

It’s funny in a way…. That these are not frightening words…. They are encouraging words – because we know God is in complete control – and we can take heart in the verse that says – 

“but the one who prevails[k] will do so until he is separated from out of the midst.”

We will prevail until Jesus lifts us out….

No pulling away – no falling away – but a lifting out by the One who sees us – knows us – loves us – and has mercy on us.

And with a puff of his breath – Jesus will destroy the son of lawlessness from the face of the earth.

What is God saying to us now in all of this?

He’s saying, nurture your love and desire for knowing Jesus and knowing His Word.  Plant yourself and ground yourself in the truth – and grow to love it more and more.

This way, we will not be deceived.  We will not fall away.  We will have the mind of Christ.  We will have His Heart.

False prophecies and false teachings and false supernatural powers will not lead us astray.

I want to quote Heb 10:25 again as we close.  And maybe you will hear it in a fresh way this morning.

This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”

Let’s pray:

Dear Father in Heaven,

We come in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son.

We pray that Holy Spirit – You would fire up within us such a burning desire and love for God and for the Word – 

that we remain steadfast, grounded, wise, anointed, empowered by the Word – 

as the world around us becomes more and more lawless and self driven by the day.

Let that anointing oil that You speak of in Psalm 133 – let it flow over our mind, our heart, our soul, our spirit – 

and let it wash us with truth – and such a passion and love for the truth that we will never ever fall away.

And when the time comes – Lord lift us up – 

lift us out of the destruction and evil that is to come upon the earth at the very end.

Help us to anticipate the coming day with joy and expectancy in our hearts.

It’s a day of judgement – but for those who have the Blood of the Lamb as their covering – the devil has already been judged – and the power of sin has already been defeated.

Build Your church Lord – let it shine – let it expand as the kingdom of God spreads across the earth.  

Help us to see this moment of time as one of the greatest seasons in all of history.

And we have been born for such a time as this.

Amen.

God bless you all.

Bye for now…


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