As we see the end time approaching, the Day of Christ coming near, what should we be doing?
Brethren, as we get closer to the end time you will see that there are so many who do not believe that the end of the world, or the end of man's age is near. Let's go back to 2 Peter 3:1 2 Peter 3:1This second letter, beloved, I now write to you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
American King James Version×, because we have a prophecy here in 2 Peter 3 that deals with this issue and we will begin here in verse 1:
2 Peter 3:1-3 2 Peter 3:1-3  This second letter, beloved, I now write to you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
 That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior:
 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
American King James Version× – Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder) ... so he wanted to remind them of some things that he had already spoken to them about ... for you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandments of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first; that scoffers will come in the last days. I believe we are living in the last days, so it says scoffers will come ... walking according to their own lust. Now notice their motivation, their motivation is their own lusts and desires and they don't want anyone to come along and say, no you shouldn't do that ... and saying ... what would they say?
2 Peter 3:4 2 Peter 3:4And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
American King James Version× – "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation."
So nothing has changed, all things continue the way that they've always been. And then he goes on to say:
2 Peter 1:5 2 Peter 1:5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
American King James Version× – For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, the earth standing out of water and in the water, and by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. And the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire unto the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
So what you discover is that these individuals we'll say, they deny the flood in Noah's day, why would they deny the fact that there was a flood? Well, because if they acknowledge that there was a flood, that God destroyed the earth at one time by a flood, they would have to admit that in the future, God is going to destroy the earth by fire in the future. If one occurred, then naturally what the Bible says about the other would be true also.
Now we all know that the Bible talks about the scoffers coming, but could this apply to any of us? Could this fit on our foot, so to speak? We believe that Jesus Christ is coming back to the earth, we believe in the second coming, we believe in the resurrection. But are we living like we believe that He's returning to the earth? Are we regulating our lives as if we knew that Jesus Christ was coming? You see, there's a difference in profession and motivation. One can profess to believe, but if we truly believe, we know as the Bible says, belief will stir us to action, we will be doing something. We will have a passion and we will be obedient to what God says, it's not just a matter of yeah, I agree with it, but what we agree with, what we believe will be translated into motivation and doing something.
Now in the days of Noah, when Noah preached, remember he preached that God was going to destroy the earth. Now God gave Him a precise time, He said you've got 120 years, so in 120 years he had that period of time to complete the building of the ark, gathering food and assembling the animals and getting them on the ark that God brought to him, because you know he couldn't possibly gather every species of animals, God brought whatever He wanted to make it through the flood to him and finally God closed the door and that very day it started raining and God destroyed the earth. Let's back up here, chapter 2, 2 Peter 2:5 2 Peter 2:5And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;
American King James Version×, notice what it says about this, it says:
2 Peter 2:5 2 Peter 2:5And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;
American King James Version× – He did not spare the ancient world ... or the old world, the pre-flood world ... but saved Noah, one of the eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly.
He spared Noah but the old world was destroyed. How many heeded the warning of Noah? Did Noah just preach one day or did he not preach for 120 years? And proclaim about what was going to happen, that God is going to bring a flood, you need to repent and change. How many people believed it? Well we find there were eight and that was his family and I don't know if they all believed him or not but at least God spared them because of Noah. Now in the future, God says if Noah were there or Job were there or Daniel were there, they would spare only their own life by their own righteousness and not anyone else. So it's up to each one of us individually, what we do before God.
How many of us today are living as if these words that the Bible tells, that the Word of God is indeed life and truth? You know the Bible, in John 17:17 John 17:17Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
American King James Version× says "Thy word is truth." In John 6:63 John 6:63It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.
American King James Version× we find that the words of Christ "are spirit and they are life." And so, are we living as if we believe that the Word of God truly is life? And it is spirit and it is the way that we are to live. Back in Matthew 24:37 Matthew 24:37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
American King James Version×, if you'll turn back to Matthew 24:37 Matthew 24:37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
American King James Version×we find that during the days of Noah, that society carried on as if nothing were going to happen, nothing were going to transpire, people living their lives, having family, having social outings, activities, work and so on, and it's described here in Verse 37:
Matthew 24:37 Matthew 24:37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
American King James Version×– "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking ... they were marrying ... giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark." See all these things were going on until Noah entered the ark.
Matthew 24:39 Matthew 24:39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
American King James Version× – "and they not know ... the Bible says ... until the flood came and took them all away, so also the coming of the Son of man be."
They didn't know, they didn't realize, they thought he was a wild-eyed prophet out here, you know, somebody crazy, building an ark out in the middle of a field somewhere and you know, gathering all this food stuff, spending all this money and then finally it came to pass. You see they could not believe that the world was going to come apart, that the world was going to come apart at the seams, that it would come to an end.
Now we know what the Bible says about the future, but too often we don't live in reality. Now when I say live in reality – reality is what God says, reality is not what we see around us, it's what God says is going to happen and going to take place. You see we still have a job, most of us, we have food on our table, we have clothes on our back, we have a T.V. in our home -or two or three, we've got cable, we've got cars to drive and even though it might be almost four dollars a gallon of gas, we still are driving them around. Life is good when you compare it to the rest of the world. And yet when you look around at what is transpiring in our society today brethren, the world is coming apart and especially the Western world is coming apart. Economically, I mean you can look at it in many different days that you want to, but economically we see the U.S. declining as a first rate economic power. We look at our national debt, approaching ... (out of every dollar they spend, so that means, well just translate it to your own family. If you're making $30,000, $40,000 a year, $50,000 and you're living on $100,000, well you're going to have to go out and borrow $50,000 to make up that difference, that's what the government is doing. Where do they get the rest of it? They crank up the printing presses and they print money that's worthless because there is nothing backing it up. At one time we had gold backing it up and now we have nothing backing it up. And so economically you find the Western world is beginning to fall apart.
Now the Bible indicates that in the future there is going to come a great economic revival. When you look at Revelation 17, you'll find Babylon the great and when Babylon falls, it says the merchants of this earth cry and wail because of her destruction. There is going to come a political leader here in the future who will join with a spiritual leader and they will, together, but especially the physical, they will set up a system of economics that will be worldwide and will impact this world and we find that's going to happen for a short period of time. And so when all of that takes place and people think, well everything's going good, we've got jobs now and the economy is reviving, the Bible says they will say, peace, peace and there is no peace. They will think there is going to be peace but instead there will be this ultimate struggle for control of the world.
Look at the moral decay that is happening in the world today. The religious decay, the rise of secularism and narcissism, you find that religion today, especially in the Western world, where "we need to have diversity and we need to be tolerant." Today you can be tolerant of any religion except Christianity and Christian symbols, Christian approaches are put down, you know people hunt it seems like, they've got their eyes and their ears to the ground, they're looking for, oh, somebody said a prayer in a locker room, somebody is saying a prayer in a public football or basketball game and so they press against that. But yet tens of thousands of people can block off streets in New York City and get out and pray five times a day because they're a different religion, nobody seems to think that strange. But Christianity, no.
What about corruption in politics? That seems to always have been a problem but it seems to excel today. I think the stage is set, either for the final Pope to come on the scene or very close to it. If you've been reading some of the articles dealing with the changes that are going to take place, as you know Pope Benedict is stepping aside at the end of this month, the college of Cardinals going to select the Pope, there's a lot of speculation about who will be the next Pope, will it be an Italian, somebody from Europe, somebody from Latin America, what about Africa, the Philippines and they're talking about now somebody from a Third World country perhaps. So that's something we need to keep our eyes on because that will have, I think, tremendous impact. It doesn't matter what the personality of that individual is, in the future there is going to come a religious leader whose going to get his power from Satan the devil who will transform that individual into somebody that he may not appear to be presently and so that's going to happen.
The rise of Islam is a tremendous impact. You can read articles that show that Islam realizes they don't have to go fight against Europe, although they will, but that give them another twenty years, twenty-five years, they will be the predominant people because of their birth rate. There's hardly a nation in Europe that we would say is Caucasian or white that is reproducing itself, it takes 2.4 I think children or two, I'm getting hand signals out here! 2.2? O.K. It takes about 2.2 to reproduce in order to replace the present and to have some type of small increase. But we're not doing that, we have nations now that have dropped down below 1%, 1½ %. The U.S. is somewhere around 1.9 or somewhere in that figure. But yet look at all of the, what we would call the Latin's and different ones, they have very large families. The same thing is happening with the Muslims, they move into Europe, they have four, five or six children, the indigenous population has very few if any, they're not reproducing themselves, they're declining, the other is growing. Yet we know that in the future, there will be a World War that will take place and Islamic nations will have a major impact.
Look at the proliferation of nuclear weapons – North Korea, now we're talking about Iran. There will be this continual development. What about the deliberate weakening of our nation today, in the United States, and I call it deliberate, where our military might is being undermined, the economic power and dominance of the United States is being undermined. We're moving toward socialism, the Greenberg revolution with it's impact is having a tremendous impact in hamstringing our country from growth and development. There's going to be a constant struggle over oil, not only for us as a nation, but many nations worldwide because as many of the third world nations begin to become developed nations, they're going to need oil, they're going to need petroleum and so this is going to create a major crisis among the nations.
What about upset weather and struggle for water? Especially in the Mid-East, I mean I could go on and on, these are events that are taking place that if you have eyes to see, you see what's happening, you see the events as they're beginning to transpire.
So how do we prepare for the future? How should you and how should I prepare for the future? We'll it's always good to have some food set aside and water, it will last for a few weeks, a few months in case some catastrophe were to happen, but brethren that's not going to save us in the future. I mean that's just wisdom, you shouldn't just have a day or two supply of food, you should have food and all set aside. But our deliverance is not on what we do, our deliverance comes from God, from relying upon Him and what He will do for us.
So the question is, how close are we to God? Are we walking with God on a daily basis? Are we talking with Him? Is our life built around Him? Are our relationship with Christ and the Father what it should be? I want you notice over here in Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version×, we find a scripture that talks about faith and we know that as the righteous, we walk by faith and not by sight. So let's notice in Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version×:
Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version× – Without faith it's impossible to please Him ...
So you and I have to have faith, now where does faith come from? Well faith is a gift from God, but faith also comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. In other words, studying the Word of God, filling our mind with the Word of God.
Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version×– Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must ... #1 ... believe that He is ... so you've got to believe His existence and secondarily ... that He is a rewarder of those ... notice ... who diligently seek Him.
So God says we must diligently seek Him. You look this up in a number of other translations and most of them will translate it as "seek Him." The NIV translates it, "earnestly seek Him," the King James Version again says, "diligently seek Him." So you and I, if we're going to believe God, in other words it's talking about those who have faith, that they will believe that God exists but they will also diligently seek Him. There's something that you and I have to do and it goes beyond just profession and belief, it involves action, it involves doing something diligent. The word "diligent" here means to "seek out, search for something, to seek diligently, earnestly, sincerely and to be earnest to obtain God's favor." And so when we talk about seeking God diligently, the anonyms of this word are, "neglect, to regard or to esteem lightly or to overlook." So if we're neglecting to do what we know we should do, or we just esteem it lightly and we don't do it and we overlook it, we are failing to do what the Bible says.
You and I read this scripture the other day, I don't know why, but all of us, Jen may know, as close as I can find was Jeremiah 29:13 Jeremiah 29:13And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.
American King James Version×. Let's go over to Jeremiah 29:13 Jeremiah 29:13And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.
American King James Version×, notice here, God says:
Jeremiah 29:13 Jeremiah 29:13And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.
American King James Version× – You will seek Me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. Now Handel rearranged the words a little bit, but the thought is there. You will seek Me and find Me when you do it with all of your heart, God says.
So this is what God is looking for in us. The ESV translates it the same way, the NET translation says this: When you seek Me in prayer and worship, you will find Me available to you if you seek Me with all of your heart and soul.
Now what does the Bible tell us? We're to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all of our soul, with all of our might, with all of our mind. And that's the same thing we see here in the Old Testament. NIV translates it the same way, King James Version basically the same, "You seek you will find Me, when you shall search for Me with all of your heart" and notice, all of these say to seek God, search for God, be diligent in your approach. So we are to diligently seek Him, we're to search for Him with our whole heart.
Now I want you to notice how David explained this to his son Solomon. Let's go back to 1 Chronicles 28:9 1 Chronicles 28:9And you, Solomon my son, know you the God of your father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever.
American King James Version×, New King Version I'm reading here:
1 Chronicles 28:9 1 Chronicles 28:9And you, Solomon my son, know you the God of your father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if you seek him, he will be found of you; but if you forsake him, he will cast you off for ever.
American King James Version× – "As for you my son Solomon, know the God of your father and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intents of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever."
That's quite a mouthful. Instructions that God gave through David to Solomon. Now notice, ESV translates this, (NKJ says a loyal heart) this says, "with your whole heart." The NET says "a submissive attitude" is how it translates it. With a whole heart or with a submissive attitude. The NIV says, "whole hearted devotion" – you and I are to have a wholehearted devotion. KJV says "with a perfect heart." Then you'll notice also it goes on to talk about how God searches all hearts and understands all the intents of the thoughts. While the ESB says for this, "understands every plan and every thought."
Brethren do we understand that God knows every thought that goes through our mind? Every thought, all of our plans, what are the motives of them? God understands. The NET says "He understands the motives of ones thoughts." So God gets down to what our motives are, He knows where we're coming from, what motivates us, what drives us. NIV, "Understands every desire and every thought." So God knows what our desires are, He knows what our thoughts are. The KJV says, "the imagination of the thoughts."
Now when you look at these in the Hebrew, "the loyal heart" means "complete, safe, peaceful, whole, full, at peace." So when we're talking about here we are to love God and serve Him with a loyal heart, it's talking about with our whole heartedly, with a full heart, a heart that is at peace with God, that we're not just struggling to want our own way, but we're striving to obey God. "Willing mind" in the Hebrew is "desiring or delighting in or having pleasure in." So that you and I have a willing mind, meaning that we have pleasure, we delight in God's way, we take pleasure in it. It's not something, Oh no, God commands me, I can't eat this, I shouldn't do that, why is God telling me this, I want to do such and such but God won't let me. No, that's not the approach God's looking for, that we delight in Him, we take pleasure in what He has to offer us. Then it goes on to talk about the intent of the thoughts of our heart. "Intent" here means, "framing, purpose or framework." How do we frame things, how do we look on them, what's our outlook is what it is talking about. So God is very clear about what He desires out of us, out of His people.
Back up here to Deuteronomy 4:29 Deuteronomy 4:29But if from there you shall seek the LORD your God, you shall find him, if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
American King James Version×, Deuteronomy 4 comes right before chapter 5 where the Ten Commandments are reiterated again and God is talking about what will happen in the future to His people, that there will come a time when they will go against Him, go against His covenant, they will go into captivity and He tells them what to do to get out of that captivity. Now as Rick was bringing out, there are times that we get into a funk and we need to work our way out of those periods and we all get down at times, but notice what God tells those who are in captivity, now I could stop right here and we could go back to the book of Hosea, I was reading through ... the book of Ezekial is one book I have marked, I don't know why, it's sort of easy to read through, you go back and you will see that there are many places where God talks to His people about going into captivity and how God brings them back out of captivity and how that they will come back out of captivity hating what they've done and seeking the Lord with all their heart. Well notice here, God says:
Deuteronomy 4:29 Deuteronomy 4:29But if from there you shall seek the LORD your God, you shall find him, if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
American King James Version× – "But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him ... so in the future, when our people do go into captivity and they've been there for a while, they will turn to God after, the Bible indicates 2 to 2.5 years, they'll turn to God and seek Him ... if you seek Him with all your heart and with all of your soul." This is what God is looking for, that they will turn to Him and seek Him with their whole being.
Brethren, this is what God wants out of us now, He wants His people not to be blasé, not just "believe" not just profess, He wants His people to be motivated. Let's notice in Hebrews 2, an interesting section, verses 1-3. The book of Hebrews I think is an excellent book to read before the Holy Days likewise, there's a lot of symbolism here, but there's a lot of exhortation because this is written to the Jews, the temple worship was still there and the Jews were beginning to compromise, they were beginning to back off from obedience – why? Well because they were being persecuted and it was no longer necessary for them to offer up sacrifices because of Christ's sacrifice and so they began to back off and you find that they began to compromise and so the writer of the book of Hebrews is encouraging them to not do that. It's a book I think that applies throughout all ages. Here in verse 1:
Hebrews 2:1 Hebrews 2:1Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
American King James Version× – Therefore, we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.
Now the word "therefore" simply means, "because of this" – because of what? Well go back and read chapter one! Chapter one shows that Jesus Christ is greater than the angels, He has a position above the angels and so therefore, because of this, because of who Christ is, therefore, we must give the more earnest heed to the things we've heard. He's the One who inspired the Old Testament; He's the One who inspired the Bible to be written in His servants ... lest we drift away.
Now the expression "most earnest heed" here is a warning against allowing the truth to slip away. It's easy if we don't study on a regular basis to let things slip away, get away from us, we forget them and I've found the same thing, if you don't go back and read and re-read and study and go over God's Word, things begin to melt from your mind and just like ice out here in the hot sun beginning to melt, and they dissipate. I'm quoting here from Strong's Lexicon and what it has to say about this: "The nature of the sin of Adam was a careless indifferent attitude toward the commandment of God. The particular word here for "earnest heed" is translated "disobedience." Hold your place here, but go back to Romans 5:19 Romans 5:19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
American King James Version×, talking about Adam, it says:
Romans 5:19 Romans 5:19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
American King James Version× – For as by one mans disobedience ... same word here ... by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience, many will be made righteous. In Romans 5:19 Romans 5:19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
American King James Version× it literally means "to hear alongside, thus a failing to hear, or hearing amiss."
Brethren, sometimes we can study the Bible but we fail to hear what it's saying to us. We can all study it and think, oh yes, there's old Joe over here or Tom, Dick or Harry, yeah that applies to them, yeah, they need this, maybe I can bring this up on the Sabbath and get them interested in it. Instead of saying, does this apply to me? Always in all of our Bible study, everything we do has got to apply to us and not so much toward the other person. So what was Adam's problem? Well, failing to hear or hearing amiss. He knew what God had said, but he didn't apply it, he didn't cling to it, he didn't hold on to it and the serpent came along and he and his wife were led off in a wrong direction. It goes on to say, "This failure to hear is due to a carelessness in paying attention to what God has to say." Back to that carelessness, is the desire to have one's own way. Now none of us are that way are we? None of us desire to have our own way. Well the Bible says: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death."
So you find that it's something that we have to look at very carefully, because carelessness, becoming careless with what God tells us to do, how we keep the Sabbath, how we obey God, whether we study or pray or fast or whatever it is we should be doing, we become careless with our approach and it's because in our own mind, we have our own will, our own desires about what we want to do. The expression here, "to give more earnest heed" means "to give heed more abundantly." So we are to give heed more abundantly, to hold to, or it means "to hold the mind to" – you and I are to give more earnest heed and that means we are to hold our mind to it, that's to be the center of our mind, the focus of our mind, this is what our mind gravitates to. Then you'll notice here, it says: Lest we drift away, unless we let them slip away. Vincent translates, "should drift past them." The verb itself means to flow and the prefix preposition alongside, the word was used of snow drifting off a soldiers body, in other words it's talking about something that would just drip off. Or of a ring, slipping from the finger. Vincent quotes a rendering of Proverbs 4:21 Proverbs 4:21Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the middle of your heart.
American King James Version× as follows:
Now all of this is taking from Wuest Word Study of the Bible. So when it talks about slipping away, don't let things drift away or slip away from us, like a ring off the finger or water off the back. We say water off a duck's back, we shouldn't let God's Word just flow off of us, it should be something, you know if you're going to study the Bible, it's better to study one verse than to read ten chapters and not remember what those ten chapters are all about, but to take a verse or a series of verses and come to understand what it is that God wants us to do. Going on in verse 2 here it says:
Hebrews 2:2-3 Hebrews 2:2-3  For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward;
 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard him;
American King James Version× - For the word spoken through angels proves steadfast ... now here's one reason why he says ... therefore you must give the earnest heed ... because under the Old Covenant, even though God gave them the Ten Commandments, you'll find that much of what was transmitted was through angels, but the words ... angels proved steadfast and every transgression and disobedience received the just reward, how shall we escape ... what are we going to do ... if we neglect so great a salvation. What are we going to do if we neglect the salvation that God is offering to us?
It can be translated this way, how is it possible to escape if we neglect? See it is impossible, it's in essence a question, how are we going to do this if we neglect so great a salvation? How do we neglect today? How do we neglect our salvation today? Well let me just say, there are a lot of ways that we neglect, it can be through a lack of prayer, through a lack of Bible study, it can be never fasting, never serving one another, it can be for not attending church, you just get into a state where we become careless. The book of Hebrews enumerates a number of ways, let's just go back and read one of those. Hebrews 10:25 Hebrews 10:25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
American King James Version× where we're told:
Hebrews 10:25 Hebrews 10:25Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
American King James Version× – Don't forsake the assembling of yourselves together as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, so much the more as you see the day approaching.
Brethren, as we see the end time approaching, the Day of Christ coming near, what should we be doing? Well one of the things we should be doing is meeting together and exhorting one another, encouraging one another, holding each other's hands, building each other up, trying to help one another. But we can become careless in our attendance on the Sabbath with God's people. I find a lot of people don't plan properly – what I mean by that is, they plan to drop dead on Friday evening, you know they work so hard and Friday comes, almost up to the time the sun sets and they come in and they drop almost dead, figuratively speaking. And then, they sleep 12 hours on the Sabbath and if they can make it out of bed, they'll make it, otherwise they're going to stay in their pajamas and they're going to find somewhere where the Church service is being broadcast and they're going to listen. That's not what God says here. Not only is He not just talking about not forsaking the assembly of yourselves, but He's saying one of the reasons, one of the purposes behind that is to exhort one another, encourage one another as we see that day approaching. Brethren, we come to worship God collectively on the Sabbath, we're to learn more. It's easy to stay home and tune into a service, takes a little get up and go to get out and to do what God says.
Another reason why we can become careless is that we allow the cares of our daily lives to overwhelm us and that's very easy for all of us to do. And to take our attention away from what we should be doing. Matthew 13:22 Matthew 13:22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
American King James Version×, notice, remember the Parable of the Sower, it says:
Matthew 13:22 Matthew 13:22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
American King James Version× – Now he who received the seed among the thorns is he who hears the Word and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word and he becomes unfruitful.
So here's God's Word, it's like it's a person almost, you begin to choke it out, choke the life out of it by just being careless with it and not doing what we should. The word "cares" here means "a feeling of apprehension or distress, anxiety, worry, anxious concern." What does Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version× tell us to do?
Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version× – "Seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you."
Now brethren, have we forgotten the prelude to Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×? Let's go over to Matthew 6, pick up the story in Verse 24 here. Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×does not stand alone, it's built on certain other principles. Verse 24 says:
Matthew 6:24 Matthew 6:24No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
American King James Version× – "No one can serve two masters for either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other." You cannot serve God and mammon. "Therefore I say to you, do not worry ... see, the cares of this world, don't worry, that means be overly anxious, you know if I don't have any money, obviously I'm going to be concerned about how I'm going to make and meet my bills, but He's talking about overly anxious here and distraught ... about your life, what you will eat and what you will drink; or about your body, what you will put on it. Is not life more than food and a body more than clothing?
Then He talks about the birds of the air and how they're fed, then He talks about how you can't add by worrying one inch to your stature and the lilies of the field and how they're clothed and God takes care of the grass and so, verse 31:
Matthew 6:31 Matthew 6:31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
American King James Version× – "Therefore do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things, the Gentiles ... the unconverted ... seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of these things.
So how do we get these things? Well, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added. So God knows we have needs, but He says put your priorities first, do what is right first and He will add these things. Hebrews 12, moving back to the book of Hebrews again.
Hebrews 12:1 Hebrews 12:1Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
American King James Version× – Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses ... talking about all of those men and women of faith ... let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, but let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Generally our race is not a sprint – if it is, I've been sprinting for almost 55 years! That seems like an endurance race to me and I think that's true of most of us. We're in this for the long haul. So how do we do that? Well:
Hebrews 12:2 Hebrews 12:2Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
American King James Version× - Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despised the shame and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So we find here you and I are not to become faint and weary in our minds and Jesus Christ, who would have every reason to do so, did not because He knew where He came from, He knew what glory was like, He knew what it was like to live on the God-plane and He was not about to give that up for just some physical thing.
Hebrews 12:3 Hebrews 12:3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.
American King James Version×– For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. So we can become weary and discouraged in your souls. So we can become weary and discouraged, it says:
Hebrews 12:4 Hebrews 12:4You have not yet resisted to blood, striving against sin.
American King James Version× –For you have not yet resisted the bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as sons: "My sons, do not despise the chastening of the Lord ... so we're told not to despise how God works with us and deals with us. Then in Verse 15 we are warned to look out. It says:
Hebrews 12:15-17 Hebrews 12:15-17  Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
 For you know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
American King James Version× – Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up causes trouble and by this many become defiled, lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterwards when he wanted to inherit the blessing he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance though he sought it diligently with tears.
So we can all think, well I haven't been treated properly. You know, somebody stepped on me, somebody hasn't treated me properly and as a result, you know, I can be hostile or I can be upset. No, that's no reason to get upset. Was Jesus Christ treated in a wrong manner? He was crucified, He was beaten, he never sinned, never did anything wrong and yet He didn't become hostile and rebellious. So we need to reframe our minds, we need to think as God thinks and wants us to think. Let's come back to Hebrews 2 again, and again we come to here in Verses 1-3, especially Verse 3.
Hebrews 2:3-4 Hebrews 2:3-4  How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard him;
 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
American King James Version× – How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which was at the first begun to be spoken of by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard of Him, and God also bearing witness spoke of the signs and wonders and the various miracles and gifts of the holy spirit according to His will? Notice, He goes on to talk about, we're not to neglect so great a salvation. So how great is that salvation? Well he goes on to say:
Hebrews 2:5 Hebrews 2:5For to the angels has he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
American King James Version× – For He has not put the world to come, to which we speak of in subjection to angels. Angels were not created with the objective or purpose that they would ultimately rule in the World Tomorrow.
Hebrews 2:6 Hebrews 2:6But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that you are mindful of him? or the son of man that you visit him?
American King James Version× – But one testified in a certain place, saying: "What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that you take care of him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels ... or a little while lower, while we're in the flesh we're a little lower than the angels, they're spirit beings ... and you crown him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of your hands. So God told Adam and Eve that they would have authority over all of the physical creation. But notice Verse 8:
Hebrews 2:8 Hebrews 2:8You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
American King James Version× – You have put all things in subjection under his feet. So everything is eventually going to be under man's feet, but notice: For in that You put all in subjection under him, He has left nothing ... there's nothing ... there is nothing not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things under him ... not now but brethren, in the resurrection, in the Kingdom of God, we will become a member of the family of God and all things refers to the whole universe, God will give us authority and we will help rule this universe. But notice Verse 9:
Hebrews 2:9 Hebrews 2:9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
American King James Version× – We see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels ... why was Christ made lower than the angels for 33.5 years? For the suffering of death ... that's why, but He is now ... crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
Brethren, God sent Christ to this earth to be a sacrifice. You know the Passover every year, and we're approaching the Passover, every year as we approach the Passover, it should have a deeper meaning to us. It's not just a ritual, if we're not careful it can just become a ritual, oh, here we are again, got to drink a little wine, take that unleavened bread, wash somebody's feet and it can become just that. But the Passover should never become just a ritual, it should have deeper meaning year by year because year by year we learn a little more about who we are, what our faults are, our sins are and you know, we need to repent, we need to change. So Jesus Christ came to the earth, as it goes on to say:
Hebrews 2:9 Hebrews 2:9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
American King James Version× - ... that He might taste death for everyone. So we need to be reflecting on that at the Passover season. Verse 10 says:
Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
American King James Version× – For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory ... that's why He came, because of the plan of God that He and the Father have, that they planned from the very beginning to bring many sons to glory, to His family ... to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Now I want you to notice that God has prophesied about the end-time and what would be the predominant attitude at the end time and you and I need to be aware of this. Turn over here just a few pages to Revelation 3:14 Revelation 3:14And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things said the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
American King James Version×. It says:
Revelation 3:14 Revelation 3:14And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things said the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
American King James Version× – "To the angel of the church of the Laodicean's, write, 'These things says (I've got to pick my Bible up here) the Amen ... you don't want to mark red letters with red, it sort of blots it out here ... the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God; "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. Cold or hot, both can be used for something, but lukewarm, no. I would that you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say ... notice what they say ... 'I am rich, I've become wealthy, I have need of nothing' and you don't know that you are wretched and miserable and blind and naked."
So brethren, the Laodicean's are indifferent or lukewarm, this is the prevalent attitude that God says would be at the end time. God rejects the half-hearted efforts of self-satisfied Christians, He doesn't accept that. We have to seek God with all of our heart and what does God tell them to do?
Revelation 3:19 Revelation 3:19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
American King James Version× – "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent." That's what God tells us to do.
We are to be zealous and we are to repent. So the question we need to ask ourselves, if this is a predominant attitude at the end time, especially among the church and I think we can see it among all of so-called Christendom, are we lukewarm in our approach to God? To His church, to God's commandments and charges, to our daily approach, our worship of God, our study, our church attendance, whatever it might be. You see the Passover season again is a good time to re-evaluate ourselves. We cannot neglect our salvation and the Bible tells us not to, we're warned of this. We must not be careless in our approach towards God. Always remember this: If with all of our hearts we truly seek Him, we shall truly find Him. And this is what God is looking for in all of us, to seek Him with all of our heart and if we do, He will be there, He will be found of us.