Parable of the Sheep & Goats: The Greatest Gift

By admin On December 9th, 2012

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THE GREATEST GIFT

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“For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat…

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I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink…

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I was a stranger, and ye took Me in… 

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Naked, and ye clothed Me… 

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I was sick, and ye visited Me…

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I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.”  

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Matthew 25:35-36

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A gift can come in many forms. There are many gifts a Christian can give to the world.

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Perhaps to stop and give http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dear_Santa_Claus.jpgmoney to someone holding a sign, asking for help. Maybe that would be the greatest gift.

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Or giving a basket of food to someone who is hungry. Could that be the greatest gift? 

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Or what about visiting someone who is sick or incarcerated?

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Or maybe to give clothes to some overseas mission?

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Or toys to needy children at Christmas?

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Or hand-out tracts, or talking to people regarding Salvation?

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How about just being nice and friendly, and even being lovable to everyone? That too, is also a gift one could give to the world!

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Dear Santa Claus wikimedia US public domain

 

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BUT WHAT IS THE GREATEST GIFT?

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There are many, many types of gifts a Christian can give to the world…

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And some of those gifts are more precious than others!

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But this article is all about the greatest gift one can give to the world (Of course, this website highly encourages the above list of varieties of gift-giving, too!)

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But there is a gift far more precious that you and I can give to this needy world… 

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More precious than even talking to them about Jesus!

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So, what gift could that possibly be?

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Santa’s Workshop – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gifts_xmas.jpg

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Well, it may surprise you, as to just what this most precious gift is! So come along and read about the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Because the Lord has hidden a special message into that parable. And this secret message holds the answer to this very puzzling question!

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If you will read this article, you will find out all about this hidden message. But be warned! This parable will surprise you, when you discover its true meaning!

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And it will change you, if you dare take it to heart!

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Gifts Christmas – Wikimedia – GNU  License, Version 1.2

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“When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: 

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And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats….

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…and these (goats) shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous (The sheep) into life eternal.” Matthew 25:31, 32, 46

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PARABLE OF SHEEP & GOATS

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fra_Angelico_009.jpg

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So this parable of the Sheep & Goats seems very straightforward: The world will be judged, and separated into two groups: the sheep and the goats.

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To the one group, the sheep it will be pronounced… “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.” Matthew 25: 34-36 

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Judgment of Sheep & Goats Fra Angelico Wikipedia Public Domain

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TO THE GOATS

the accusing finger share-alike license www.signsofheaven.org

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Now listen to what Jesus will say to the goats… “For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee? Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25:42-46

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And so comes the pronouncement to the whole human race: either Heaven’s commendation, or Heaven’s condemnation, depending on how each person lived his or her life. Those who gave to the needy, and those who did not, but lived selfishly.

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THE GREAT CLUE

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However upon closer examination, there is a tiny discrepancy in Christ’s words. And this tiny discrepancy changes the entire meaning of this parable! And this is the big clue which unlocks the true meaning of this parable.

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You see, the big clue is found by how Jesus answers the sheep, and how He answers the goats. Listen to how Jesus answers the sheep… “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hoffman-ChristAndTheRichYoungRuler.jpgthese My brethren”. Notice that Jesus says to the sheep, “the least of these, My brethren”. But to the goats, Jesus omits, “My brethren”.

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Now listen to His response to the goats… “as ye did it not to one of the least of these.”

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So Jesus is speaking to the sheep as being faithful to help the, “least of these My brethren”.

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Now why would Jesus say the, “least of these My brethren”, to the sheep, but not to the goats? 

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The answer to this puzzling omission can be found by discovering just who God considers, “the least of these My brethren”.  

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And in answering the goats, it likewise must be discovered just who God considers to be, “the least of these”. And it must be discovered why Jesus omitted the word, “My brethren”, when speaking to the goats. And so the next section below will try to begin to unravel this mystery.

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Rich Young Ruler – Hoffman – Wikimedia Commons – US Public Domain

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WHO IS THE LEAST?

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“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 2nd Timothy 1:15 

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First of all, it must be established just who it is, that Jesus considers as the, “least of these My brethren”.

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The above verse from 2nd Timothy, is by Paul, who considered himself to be the chief of sinners. That’s right, the great evangelist, the Apostle, Paul, considers himself to be the chief of sinners!

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But notice he says that this statement is, “worthy of ALL acceptation”. So this little statement is saying here that each Christian should also take this same attitude that Paul took.

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In other words, each person should likewise consider himself to be the chief of sinners! (And the fact is, the longer a Christian serves the Lord, the more painfully aware he becomes, of how far short he falls to his Lord.)

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The Lord proclaims through Jeremiah… “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9.

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Here is the sad and decrepit condition of the human heart: “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked!”

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Paul in Prison www.thebiblerevival.com US public domain

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Incredible! Try sharing that above verse with a psychologist! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sigmund_Freud_LIFE.jpgChances are, you will be asked to leave his office! After all, the psychologist makes a living by trying to understand the human mind.

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But the above verse states that the human mind is, “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?”

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Sigmund Freud LIFE wikipedia US public domain

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UNACCEPTABLE TO THE WORLD

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And furthermore, the world cannot accept such a sweeping condemnation of itself. That would be far too hopeless for those without Christ! But the Christian well knows he or she is innately evil, and only the grace of God in the heart can be accounted of any good.

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Listen again to Paul… “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…” Romans 7:18.

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Paul well knew that without the Holy Spirit he would simply revert back into his wretched past. He needed that constant connection with the Vine (Christ), if he was to remain a fruitful branch.

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Jesus also had something to say regarding this kind of self-abnegation.

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Listen… When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room…But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; Luke 14:8, 10.

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Jesus here is counseling us to go and sit in the lowest room! This is the very same concept that Paul expressed in the previous verse from Romans 7:18, howbeit it in different language!

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Paul the Apostle – Artist – Valentin de Boulogne or Nicolas Tournier – circa 1500s – Wikipedia – public domain

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I AM THE LOWEST

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PaulT.jpgNow Paul really nails down this concept, with the next verse… “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3.

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The True Accusing Finger www.signsofheaven.org share-alike license- you may use

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So if I esteem others as better than myself, then the result is, I am the least!

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And just one more statement by Paul… “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;” Ephesians 3:8.

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Here Paul is calling himself the least! So whether Paul is calling himself the least of all saints, or the chief of sinners, the conclusion is the same!

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CHRIST’S GREAT CONDESCENSION

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And remember that Jesus left the glory of Heaven, to become the lowest of the lowest in this world! So it should be the Christian’s privilege to follow in His footsteps and do the same.

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Listen…. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.” Philippians 2:5-8.

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At the time of Christ’s crucifixion, to die on a Roman cross was as low as a human could go. And in this above passage, God is counseling us to let this same mind be in us!

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James Tissot – Jesus carrying the Cross – www.joyfulheart.com – US Public Domain

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:At_a_loss.svgBut the next question is, “OK, OK! So I am the least! But just how do I visit MYSELF in prison? And how can I be naked, when I have a closet full of clothes? And how can I be considered hungry, when I’m 20 pounds overweight? And how can I be sick, when I am well? And how can I be in prison when I am free?”

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Well just keep reading…

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Question Marks – At a loss – svg – Wikimedia Commons – Share-Alike License

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BUT I’M NOT IN PRISON!!

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“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2nd Timothy 2:25, 26

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Now most people of the world would have no idea what you were talking about, if you told them that they were in prison. But the Bible says exactly that! This above passage really reveals just what is the spiritual condition of the world (and the worldly Church). The world has been taken captive by the Devil.

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But how about the followers of Jesus? Are we too, the prisoners of sin? Well, listen to Jesus address those who professed to believe in Him.

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Listen… “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:34-36.

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Those of us who profess to be free in Christ, yet who are still in bondage to our cravings and earthly desires, are, in the words of Jesus, “the servant of sin!”

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Pilgrims Progress_15_p45_man in an iron cage wikipedia pub dom

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BUT I AM RICH!

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“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17 

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So the above verse defines the actual spiritual condition of many Christians who profess to abide in Christ. We are spiritually naked! We are spiritually poor! We are miserable! We are in bondage to the Devil! And as Isaiah points out, God’s people are sick!

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Just listen… “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity… the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.” Isaiah 1:4, 5.

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And Jesus knows just who it is that is naked. Just listen… “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:18.

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The Lukewarm Christian does not realize that he or she is spiritually naked. And what is needed is to be clothed in the garments of Salvation.

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Listen… “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.” Revelation 3:5.

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And so, the Christian is commanded to overcome the world. This is the requirement that every true worshipper of God will achieve.

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No, overcoming is not the means to Salvation, but is the result of Salvation! It is the outworking of the Holy Spirit; it is a desire and life-pursuit which wells up within the Believer via the indwelling Spirit of Holiness.

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tissot -As seen from the cross-wikipedia US public domain

 

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JESUS, THE GREAT SUBSTITUTE

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So also, in that parable of the Sheep & Goats, Jesus knows very well just who it is that is poor, and hungry, and sick,https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:6tag_250316-124351.jpg and in prison. And as Jesus suffered on the Cross, He was in our place. Yes, Jesus was in prison and sick and poor and wretched and naked and hungry and thirsty on behalf of the whole human race! And whosoever will put on the Lord Jesus Christ will be healed; will be made rich; will be cleansed; will be clothed; will be fed, and will drink the life-giving water of the Gospel!

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Oh yes, the Christian is commanded to go out into the world, and heal the sick, and feed the hungry, and clothe the naked, and give sight unto the blind, and make others rich. But first, the Christian must himself be healed, and fed, and clothed, and given sight, and buy gold tried in the fire.

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Cross of Jesus Christ – cropped photo – Wikimedia – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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GOOD WORKS USELESS WITHOUT CONVERSION

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“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:22, 23

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There will be many church-goers who will hang their heads on Judgment Day, after hearing these words of Jesus… “depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

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They always thought they were, “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;” They were deceived by the Devil; they didn’t realize they were actually… “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”

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If only they had taken to heart the words of Paul… (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2nd Cor.10:4-6. 

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They didn’t understand that they had a battle to fight, and a war to win. They were told by their teachers that they were safe and secure, and didn’t need to do anything but enjoy, enjoy! Oh, perhaps they had been warned by their pastor. But the warnings seemed empty and hollow because the lives all around them bore not the testimony of a self-sacrificing Savior! Their church was filled with otherwise nice people, but who were worldly and carnal.

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LESS-THAN-USELESS EVANGELISM

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And the sad fact is, that for church-goers to become involved in evangelistic efforts, and yet http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hoffman-ChristAndTheRichYoungRuler.jpgneglect to thoroughly evangelize our own heart: all such evangelism is worthless: even worse, because we will only be unknowingly working in conjunction with evil angels to bring more Antichrists into the Church. Only a soul which has, “forsook all, to follow Jesus”, with be blessed in good works.

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Listen… “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple. ” Luke 14:33. 

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In the verses preceding this verse, Jesus explains (in parabolic terms) that in order for a man or woman to  become a victorious Christian, requires a total dedication to Christ. A divided heart will always ultimately fail of overcoming this world.

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Listen… “For let not that man (a double-minded man) think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” James 1:7.

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Rich Young Ruler – Hoffman – wikimedia commons – US public domain

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RABBIT TRAILS TO DESTRUCTION!

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The Devil hates one thing above all else! To see a Christian study his or her Bible, with the desire to get to know Jesus is more than the Devil can tolerate! And so, this Master Deceiver will attempt to derail the Juvenile-Alice-in-Wonderland-White-rabbit1-believed-to-be-public-domainChristian from such introspective Bible study!

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And if he cannot pull the Christian back into the world, he will then attempt the next best thing: to lead the Christian down some rabbit-trail! Revelation seminars which focus on history books and newspapers, instead of Christ! Health and wealth seminars! Creation/evolution seminars! Church politics! Even evangelism!

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Yes, the Devil will tolerate just about anything, rather than see the Christian fully engaged in the purification of the heart!

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Now, to study Bible prophecy can be a good thing, if it is done properly. And there is a time for history books. And taking care of our health is good. And evangelism is good. But when any of these begins to eclipse one’s personal heart-purification, then those good things become evil!

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Listen… “And every man that hath this hope in Him, purifieth himself, even as He (Christ) is pure.” 1st John 3:3.

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There will be many energetic church-goers, who on Judgment Day will hear the following words… “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:22, 23

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Yes, there are many church-attendees who devote their lives to various aspects of the Christian life. And yet they neglect that one thing, which is paramount to all other concerns of life: the purification of the heart, and transformation of the life into the image of Christ!

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Evangelist Preaching – Church – Audience hands – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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ISAIAH’S CONDEMNATION OF A WORLDLY CHURCH

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Those who try to serve God and also serve the world, are not to think that we will receive anything from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tissot_Isaiah.jpgthe Lord!

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Listen to Isaiah’s assessment of a worldly-minded Church… “We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.” Isaiah 26:18.

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Notice that it not only describes God’s people as having given birth to the wind (instead of giving birth to Christ), but it also says that we have… “we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth”.

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To not have wrought any deliverance in the Earth means that the Church has not saved anyone, even its own self! And to say that, “neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen”, reveals that the Church has failed to convince the world that it must repent.

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It’s not that the Christian must work for his or her Salvation. But only those who truly have Salvation will go on to fight for and ultimately win the Prize of a personal victorious life in Christ. But all those who have only a spurious-salvation, are mere pretenders, and will eventually be overcome by the world.

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Tissot_Isaiah wikipedia US public domain

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TIME TO FLEE!

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Listen to Habakkuk… “Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.” Habakkuk 1:4. 

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In the Church of God, the wicked became as swift as leopards, via the modern technology. Instant communications allowed Satan and his host much easier access into the lives of God’s people. The great images of wickedness even held the exalted place in the living rooms of the Christian community.

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To a great extent, the following passage was largely ignored… “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23. 

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Christians greatly polluted our Heavenly soul-sanctuary, by allowing so much of the world into our hearts via our ungodly friendships and high-tech communications with unholy channels of darkness.

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A WORLDLY AND IRRELEVANT CHURCH

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The Church of God, during this last century, allowed the wicked to move in and take the reins, so to speak. The accepted norm was to behave giddy, vain, and worldly.

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Yes, we have all been careless, worldly, and negligent to perform our duties!

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PS_Kr%C3%B8yer_-_Hip_hip_hurra!_Kunstnerfest_p%C3%A5_Skagen_1888.jpg

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But now, God tells us to hide ourselves! 

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Listen again… “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought His judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” Zephaniah 2:3.

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Notice it says, “It MAY BE ye shall hid!”  God’s people must not presumptuously think that we are a “shoe-in” to be hidden in that Day! But humbly must we beg and plead for God to drive out all pride and presumptuous self-confidence, so that we just might be hidden, while the storm passes by in that Day!

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PS Krøyer – Hip hip hurra! – Kunstnerfest på Skagen – 1888 – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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“A MAN IS HIDDEN”

Proverbs 28:12

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“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” 2nd Corinthians 6:17

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Like never before in history, is it imperative for the Christian to hide in Christ… “Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” Isaiah 26:20

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Hide Thyself in thy Chambers- inspired by Tornado Over Kansas by Curry

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TO THE MOLES AND BATS…

 

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And so the Book of Isaiah foretells of a fearful day, in which the Church finally decides to cast its, ”idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Isaiah 2:20, 21.

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So this passage presents a very radical scenario concerning the last days. Will we, the Church, God’s Elect, fulfill this fearful prophecy? Will we cast away our earthly riches, and flee, “to the clefts of the ragged rocks, for the fear of the Lord and for the glory of His majesty”?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Close-up_of_mole.jpg

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Yes the day is coming and now is, when God’s True Worshippers will finally decide that in order to win that prize, that we must let go of our materialism and worldly endeavors and, as Paul exhorts, ”run with patience the race that is set before us” Hebrews 12:1.

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And so we are now able to see where we are heading…to the Narrow Gate…and into the Promised Land which lies just beyond that Narrow Gate!

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Big-eared-townsend-fledermaus Wikipedia public domain-“Cast Idols to Moles”_mole by Michael David Hill, wikipedia share-alike license

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BEGGING & PLEADING FOR RESTORATION

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And so, we Christians living in this age of apostasy must seek the Lord with deep contrition and humility. The following passage from James, speaks especially to we who are living in this time of great apostasy in the Church!

.David's sorrow - Wikigallery - Public Domain

Listen… “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God…Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” James 4:4, 8-10.

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There are many who will tell us that we New Testament Church must never beg and plead for God’s mercy! But this passage from the New Testament Book of James tells us different!

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But this old painting of King David presents to us an example of Israel’s most exalted human crouched in humble prostration before God, as if he was a little child begging for forgiveness and restoration!

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And so, let us not think that God does not want us to assume the same contrition and godly sorrow because of our worldliness! And do not think that should we refuse to humble ourselves, that God cannot raise up someone else who will.

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David’s sorrow – Wikigallery – Public Domain

 

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CHRIST IN THE HEART

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“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,” Galatians 4:19 

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In the above verse, Paul complains to the Galatian churches that they were falling away, back into a “works gospel”, but really needed to die to self in Christ. This church was in the process of laying down their weapons, and turning to useless ceremonies.

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What that church needed was to prepare a place in the heart for Christ to reign and rule. The Soul-Temple must be cleansed from every trace of defilement. They were commanded to bring, “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”.

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Paul was pleading with the Galatians that they needed Christ to rule in the heart of each and every Galatian.

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And they must heed the following words by Paul… “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” Philippians 3:8.

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And every Christian today, likewise must take heed to these words of Paul. The Christian battle is not something the Christian does once a week at church. It is a 24/7/365 battle that must be fought. And God will give strength and joy to go about one’s daily duties, while carefully guarding the heart from the attacks of the enemy of souls. 

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HEART PURIFICATION

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“And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” 1st John  3:3

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The above verse tells just what is the work that every man who looks for Christ to return, will joyfully take up: the purification of the Soul-Temple! All worldliness; earthly dreams and desires: and fleshly lusts: all these have no place in the heart and only defile the temple of God!

.theholyofholies-www.thebiblerevival.com-public domain

Listen… “Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile My tabernacle that is among them.” Leviticus 15:31.

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The Christian must keep in mind the he (or she) is a Priest for the Most High and Holy God. And as such, the Christian is to purify the heart from all unchristlike behavior.

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And by thus doing, the world will take note that Christ is dwelling in that child of God! But the frivolous, lightness and giddy behavior of the world will have no place in the words or behavior of the child of God! Christ is to reign supreme in the heart of each and every one who takes the name of Jesus upon his or her lips!

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the Holy of Holies – www.thebiblerevival.com – Public Domain

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“MY YOKE IS EASY…”

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“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

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Now how could the Christian Fight be an easy yoke and a light burden, as this above verse states? Simple. The Lord fights our battles for us!http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USMC-06831.jpg

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Listen… “For the LORD your God is He that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” Deuteronomy 20:4.

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Our part is to allow God to work in us. Our job is to praise God as He brings us into various tribulations, in order to purify us. Our duty is to meditate day and night upon His Word (see Psalm 1), filling our Heart Sanctuary with His beautiful Words.

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Our great commission is to separate ourselves from every ungodly influence, lest we be defiled by evil communications (see 1st Corinthians 15:33).

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Our joy is to pray throughout our day, as we work, as we walk, as we lie down and rise up.

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And even these duties are really just from the inspiration of God.

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USMC – Prayer before Bible study – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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SOUL-TEMPLE RESTORED

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“Trust ye not in lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these’. For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings…Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.” Jeremiah 7:4, 5, 7

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This above passage from Jeremiah is a warning against church-goers presuming to be the temple of God. Christians are exhorted to, “thoroughly amend your ways and your doings”. Those who claim to love and serve God must raise the standard back to its rightful place. Christ is that standard. Nothing short of that standard is acceptable.

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And so, with this in mind, one can plainly see, that we each have a work to do, which requires nothing short of a complete dedication, in our striving to win Christ. And when God’s people finally cast every last little cherished idol to the moles and bats, and run to the eternal rocks to hide ourselves in God’s Word, then and only then will the Church begin to shine as the Sun!

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THE CHRISTIAN: A WALKING TABERNACLE

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“…for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,” 2nd Corinthians 6:16, 17

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Just as the Jews moved the Tabernacle from place to place during their wilderness-wanderings, so too, the Christian today is to do the very same thing. We are the Temple of the living God! We are God’s tabernacle in our own wilderness-wanderings.

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Wherever we go, whatever we do, we are on-duty 24/7/365 as priests for the Most High God! And just as Abraham set up an altar in different places during his travels, we have an altar in our heart. And wherever we go, we take that altar with us. This is the kind of worship that God is desiring from His people.

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When the Samaritan woman at the well (see John Ch. 4) asked Jesus if Jerusalem was the correct place to worship, Jesus answered her… “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father….But the hour cometh, and now is, when the True-Worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him….God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.” John 4:21, 23, 24.

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So to worship God in Spirit and truth does not require a building or even a certain denomination. It only requires a heart that is filled with the Spirit and with the truth of God. And so we spiritually enter into our “portable” Most Holy Place of the heart; and by faith, silently cry out to our Heavenly Father, fulfilling our priestly duties, even as we carry out the mundane duties of our day.

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THE GREATEST GIFT

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And so, dear truth-seeker, the answer to our puzzle is simply this: the greatest gift a Christian can give to a needy world is a purified heart and a life transformed into the image of Christ. Oh yes, the world has heard about Christ. They’ve been told.http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USMC-06831.jpg

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But what the world needs now, is to see Jesus, as He lives out His holy life through His believing, trusting Followers!

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And with hearts purified we will be a Living Epistle, “known and read of all!” 2nd Corinthians 3:2.

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Then there will no longer be any need for hand-out tracts or television or Internet ministries. God’s faithful ones will shine as the Sun in its brightness, to a sin-darkened world! And we are now just standing before that dawning of that day!

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USMC – Prayer before Bible study – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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EPILOGUE: THE UNPARDONABLE SIN

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Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Matthew 12:31, 32 

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The above verse presents a most fearful concept which has plagued many serious-minded church-goers over the centuries since it was first penned in Matthew’s Gospel. And upon first examination, it would appear that merely saying something evil about the Holy Spirit is the unpardonable sin.http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Bunyan_by_Thomas_Sadler_1684.jpg

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In the book, “Grace Abounding To The Chief of Sinners”, author, John Bunyan was plagued by Satan over this very same issue. Prior to Bunyan’s full conversion, the Devil was playing games with Bunyan, tempting him over and over with the thought to sell out Christ. The Devil put the thought within him… “Sell Christ for this, or sell Christ for that; sell Him, sell Him, sell Him.”

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Well, this kept up until, in Bunyan’s own words… “At last, after much striving, even until I was almost out of breath, I felt this thought pass through my heart, “Let Him go if He will.” I thought also that I felt my heart freely consent to this. Oh, the diligence of Satan! Oh, the desperateness of man’s heart! Now was the battle won, and down I fell, as a bird that is shot from the top of a tree, into great guilt and fearful despair. Now I was as one bound; I felt myself shut up into the judgment to come. Nothing for the next two years would abide with me but damnation and an expectation of damnation.”

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Bunyan was not alone! Many serious-minded Christians have likewise fallen into this same devilish plague. But for those who persevere in God’s Word, they eventually discover that this passage from Matthew needs to be compared with other similar passages.

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John Bunyan by Thomas Sadler – 1684 – Wikimedia – Public Domain

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SHEEP: UN-PRESUMPTUOUS SELF-DISTRUST

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The Parable of the Sheep & Goats gives some insight concerning this. Notice that the sheep were very unsure of themselves, when confronted by Christ… “Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink?  When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?” Matthew 25:37-39.

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Here is seen the humble self-distrusting UNpresumptuous attitude of True-Worshippers. God had already driven out their presumptuous pride, leaving them as meek as the man, Moses (see Numbers 12:3).

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Judgment of Sheep & Goats Fra Angelico Wikipedia Public Domain

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GOATS: PRESUMPTUOUSLY SELF-ASSURED

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But this parable reveals the presumptuous attitude of the goats, having just the opposite attitude of the sheep.

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Listen… “Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?” Matthew 25:44, 45.

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Notice that in this hasty response, the goats were surprised that they had been accused by Jesus. “When did we not do this? When did we not do that?”

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Now this presumptuous attitude reminds us of Psalm 19, in which David prays the following… “Who can understand his errors? cleanse Thou me from secret faults. Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Psalm 19:12, 13.

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Goats – Wikimedia – Share-alike License

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THE UNPARDONABLE SIN

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“Who can understand his errors? cleanse Thou me from secret faults. Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Psalm 19:12, 13.

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This passage seems to capture the true nature of the unpardonable sin: presumptuously thinking that I am OK, when in truth I have “secret faults”.

company's coming

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Now of course, as long as we live, there is a chance to repent.

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Listen to John’s Epistle concerning “sin unto death”… “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” 1st John 5:16-18.

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And though anybody has the opportunity to repent, as long as he or she lives, nevertheless the Devil will strive to keep a person in an undone condition, right up until the day of death, when all hope is gone.

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And he does this by giving a person this same presumptuous attitude which the goats displayed in this parable.

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“EXAMINE YOURSELVES”

2nd Cor. 13:5

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GoatEatingWeeds.jpgNow the big point to all this is that the attitude of the sheep was one of self-distrust, while the goats displayed presumptuousness and self-confidence about their salvation on the Day of Judgment.

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And so, as we now stand on the threshold of Judgment Day, it is imperative that we urgently take account of ourselves, so that we do not end up in a bankrupt spiritual condition on Judgment Day, only to hear the words… “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels:” 

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Goat Eating Weeds – Wikimedia – Public Domain

sheep – Wikimedia – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

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THE END

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SHEEP & GOATS 

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25:31 When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of his glory:   25:32 And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:   25:33 And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.   

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25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:   25:35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in:   25:36 Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.   

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25:37 Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink?   25:38 When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee?   25:39 Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?   

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25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.   

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25:41 Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels:   25:42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink:   25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not.   

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25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?   25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.   25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25: 31-46

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Bernhard_Plockhorst 1825-1907 The Good_Shephard wikipedia public domain

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A HEAVENLY HOBBY

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“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold Who hath created these things; that brings out their host by number: He calls them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth.” Isaiah 40:26

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vermont night stargazing panorama 2009 wikipedia share-alike lic.

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The above verse is a plea from God to look up at the Heavens and behold Who has created these things.

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In this busy work-a-day world, there are many very interesting things which can occupy one’s time and energy: hobbies, and careers, and entertainments and worries, and habits, to name just a few.

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But as the child of God devotes his or her life to God, there should be a jealous guarding of one’s own heart… “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.

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The Christian wants nothing to get in the way of running that Christian Race.

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 New York Times Square – terabass – Wikipedia – Share-alike License

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“AND WHEN YE SEE THESE THINGS…

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LOOK UP, LIFT UP YOUR HEAD”

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But having said this, there is one hobby which every ‘Noble Berean’ may take up, which only compliments the pursuit of the heavenly Prize.

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Yes, Signs Of Heaven becomes a wonderfully rewarding hobby which, unlike many less meaningful hobbies, pays off with rich, heavenly rewards. Everlasting rewards!

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And unlike these people in this photo with equipment, all you need is fairly good vision, and a dark, starry night.

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And once a person really gets to know these heavenly messengers, it will become very apparent that the message connected with these signs is truly a message to be heeded.

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Thus will the Christian be able to share this message with others. And there are perhaps many nuances and hidden biblical truths to these signs which have yet to be discovered.

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Astronomy Amateur Wikipedia share-alike license

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“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;” Luke 21:25

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ABOVE STAR-CHART – Summer Constellations with Two Turtledoves (Sagittarius) & Flower of the Field (aka: Scorpio) & The 12-Star Crown (aka: Corona Borealis) & The Cross-Scepter (aka: Ophiochus & Serpens) & Revelation 12 Woman (Ursa Major) & Arcturus Star – www.theheavensdeclare.net

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FIRST FIND ORION & 7 STARS

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The very first step in finding these many constellations, should be to find the two main constellations: Orion, and the 7 Stars (aka, The Big Dipper).

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These two constellations represent Christ (Orion), and His Church (7 Stars).

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And just as these are the easiest constellations to find, so too, the first place to begin studying the Bible is the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).

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These four books present Christ and His Church, when He walked the earth, just as Orion and the 7 Stars represent Christ and His Church, as seen up in the heavens.

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Then, once you are comfortable finding these two constellations, you can begin to locate the next closest constellations, and so on.

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ABOVE PICTURE – winter constellations – Orion & Revelation 12 Dragon (Hyades, Pleiades, etc…) seen at Eagle Ridge – Signs Of Heaven.org – Not for profit use!once you are comfortable finding these two constellations, you can begin to locate the next closest constellations, and so on.

ABOVE PICTURE – 7 Stars Constellation as the Cross (aka Big Dipper) – winter – signsofheaven.org – not for commercial uses

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ANOTHER HEAVENLY HOBBY: PRAYER-WALKS

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Now if you’re fortunate enough to be able to go on nightly walks, and you live in an area where you can safely view the stars, here is another Heavenly Hobby which Signs Of Heaven endorses…

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Why not combine star-watching with prayer, as you walk? What a great way to draw closer to God!

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It cannot be over-stressed, just how wonderful it is to walk under the dark canopy of Heaven, while lifting up one’s heart to our Heavenly Father! There is a closeness to God that cannot be described with words!

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(And even if you cannot safely do this, you can always do such prayer-walks in the daytime, in a safe place, such as a mall, which is every bit as effective, prayer-wise.

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And for those who are in confinement, one can view these starry signs on the Internet, or simply listen to Scripture on audio.

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Either way, all such may enjoy God’s richest blessings at this very time in which God is pouring out all Heaven’s treasures upon anyone willing to forsake all, and follow Jesus!)

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Starry Night at La Silla Wikipedia share-alike license

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THRICE-DAILY PRAYERS

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Now of course, the Bible commands us to, “pray without ceasing“. The Christian is to constantly talk with our Heavenly Father throughout the day.

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But the Bible also holds up the godly life of Daniel, who, when captive in Babylon, still set aside three times daily, in which he knelt for special prayer.

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And furthermore the Bible also says… “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:17.

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Even those who are bed-fast or in a prison cell can begin to imitate Daniel in this way. And if one is fortunate to be able to walk, then this thrice-daily prayer regimen can be combined with three walks daily and even nightly.

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Marines at Prayer by Alex Raymond wikimedia public domain

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