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The Last Days – The Days of Lot #returnofChrist

Fire DangerI’m posting about Christ’s teaching on the Last Days in Luke, chapter 17.  After talking about the days of Noah, the Lord goes on to describe the days of Abraham’s nephew, Lot.

“It was the same in the days of Lot.  People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building.  But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
“It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”
Luke 17:28-29

This event is recorded in Genesis 19.  You can read through that chapter to get the whole story.

Two angels arrived in Sodom to visit Lot.  Lot invited them into his home, knowing who they were.

When the men of the city heard that travelers were in Lot’s house, they demanded that Lot turn them over to the crowd.  According to the Bible, they wanted to rape these angels.  Lot then tried to reason with the men of the city but they wouldn’t listen.

You probably know what happens in the city of Sodom.  The two guests, who happen to be angels, come to Lot’s defense.  They bar the way into Lot’s house and bring blindness upon all the men of the city who are trying to get in.

With the coming of dawn, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry!  Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”
When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them.  As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives!  Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!  Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
Genesis 19:15-17

With the coming of the dawn – THE DAY – judgment came upon Sodom and Gomorrah.  Once Lot and his family were out of sight of the city it was all over.  The day that Lot left the city was the day that judgment fell.  Now bear in mind that the inhabitants of those cities had some warning.  Lot spent the whole day before trying to convince them.

The angels told Lot that if he had any loved ones in the city he should go and warn them.  The Bible says that he went to his sons-in-law and they laughed at him.  The city was warned.  But because Lot wasn’t as in tune to the Lord as Noah, they didn’t have as much time to prepare.  In both Noah’s day and in Lot’s the people ignored the warning.

Now I’ll ask the same questions I asked in my last post.  When it was all said and done, who was left?  According to Scripture it was Lot.  Who was taken?  Again, according to Scripture, it was the inhabitants of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Twice in the verses from Genesis 19:15-17 the angels said that the inhabitants would be “swept away.”  That concept is very important.

We need to understand what will happen when Christ reveals Himself at His return.  In my next post we’ll look at how Christ summarized His teaching on this future event.

Question: How does this knowledge affect how we live for Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Return of Christ

 

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The Last Days – The days of Noah #returnofChrist

UmbrellaIn my last post I talked about a statement that Jesus made to the church.  In it He warns us that the last days before His return would be similar to the days of Noah.  What was that like?  Things were going along business as usual.

The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
Genesis 6:5

That sounds very familiar.  God saw how great man’s wickedness had become.  People’s thoughts would turn in the direction of evil all the time.  Our society is like that today.  The main concern of most people is, “How can I satisfy myself?”  That’s fallen man’s cry from morning until night. Both Noah’s society and what we see happening around us today sound the same to me.

You know the rest of the story.  God shows Noah His plan.  Noah obeys and builds the ark for the saving of his family.  But what does all that have to do with the return of Christ?  Jesus is making a comparison here.

The world was filled with violence during the days of Noah.  Our society is plagued with the same things as well.  We see wickedness, evil thoughts, corruption, and violence all around us.  If you live in the inner city, violence is a way of life.  Unfortunately, it’s moving out more and more into the countryside, just like it was in the days of Noah.  What is this leading to?

On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark.  They had with them every wild animal according to its kind…Then the Lord shut him in.
Genesis 7:13-16

Just like it was in THE DAYS of Noah, they were eating, drinking, and marrying right up until THE DAY Noah entered the ark.  Scripture says “the very day” Noah entered the ark.  At that point the flood came.

Did they have any warning that the flood was coming?  They sure did!  Noah had been warning them for about one hundred years.  That’s how long it took him to build the ark.

What we need to understand is that when the door to the ark was finally shut it was too late.  Here is a very important question.  Who shut the door to the ark?  Please pay careful attention to this fact.  It was God who shut the door.  Noah didn’t shut it, and he couldn’t open it.

Once that door was shut, no one could change their mind and get in.  It was too late.  I’m sure that when the rain started falling, there were people pounding on that door.  But when God shuts the door, the time of repentance is over.

I believe that there will be a day when God will close the door to salvation.  That’s why it’s imperative that we preach the Good News while God’s ark of salvation remains open.

Question: What are you doing to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2013 in Return of Christ

 

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Waking Up on the Last Day

Clouds ReturnI’m continuing my posts on John chapter 6.  So far I’ve covered through verse 44.  If you read through the rest of this chapter, you’ll find that Jesus continues talking about eternal life.  He explains that you must eat of His flesh and drink of His blood to have eternal life.

I’m not going to go through the whole doctrine of the sufficiency of the body and blood of the Lord, given for us.  That would take a year’s worth of posts!  Suffice it to say that the Lord tried to tell them, “I’m the One who gives eternal life and I will raise you up (or literally wake you up) at the last day.”

Please take the time to understand this.  Jesus’ audience refused to hear it.  Even today many Christians have missed this simple truth.

He gives the disciples and us a term we must understand: “the last day.”  The word day in this Scripture is a literal, 24-hour day.  The word is singular.  Jesus said that if you put your trust in Him, He would raise you up at the last day.  What exactly is the last day?

I believe that Jesus built the disciples’ faith step by step.  The disciples were taught by the Lord that there was a time period called this age.  They also knew that the Lord intended to do some cleaning up of the world toward the end of this age, just before He called His people from their graves to receive their rewards. (Matthew 33:24-43)  The only conclusion that makes any sense is that Jesus was talking about the last, literal, twenty-four hour day of this present age.

I think it’s amazing that some preachers and teachers who normally make it a rule to interpret the Bible literally, unless it’s impossible to do so, suddenly lose all concept of reality.  Jesus said, “the last day.”  There’s nothing in this context to indicate that He meant anything other than a normal 24 hour day.  Yet, so many people have interpreted this last day from months to years long.

Throughout the Bible we find both of the terms last day and last days.  I believe that the Holy Spirit knew which term was appropriate in each section of the Scripture.  I also believe that Jesus meant what He said and said what He meant.  I believe that He intends to raise His people – to resurrect them – on the last day of this present age.

Jesus’ teaching is very clear on these points if you dare to take Him at His word.  As we approach the end of this age, God will somehow do a work that establishes a clear distinction between the “sons of the kingdom” and the “sons of the enemy.”  This work will culminate on the last day of the age when “all those who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live…” (John 5:28-29).

This is the great hope of the church.

Question: How does meditating on the return of Christ give you hope?

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Return of Christ

 

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The Last Days – Separating the Fish

SONY DSCThis will be my last post in my series about the Last Day’s weeding that the Lord will perform in His Kingdom.  Jesus went on to underscore this message by telling another parable.

“Once again the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into a lake and caught all kinds of fish.  When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on shore.  Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.  This is how it will be at the end of the age.  The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 13:47-50

The Lord tells us that the kingdom is like a net let down into a lake.  This net has been dredging the lake for 2000 years now.  It has caught a variety of fish.  Some of the fish are good and some are bad.

There are people who claim to be Christians yet know nothing of the Biblical means of salvation.  They’re relying on their own good works or their church membership instead of the blood of the crucified, buried, and risen Lord.

There are many that have heard and rejected the Good News because they like their own version better.  They say things like, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe in something.”  The church universal is full of good fish and bad fish.

So what’s new about that?  It’s been like this for hundreds of years.  It will not go on like this forever.  God is starting a separation process.

When the net is full, or literally, complete and finished, something new is going to happen.  Angels are going to be dispatched to separate out of the kingdom of God those who really don’t want to be there on God’s terms.  The word separate means to set off by a boundary.

In the last days God is going to perform a supernatural work that makes a clear distinction between His people and the world.  Right now the church and the world look very much alike.  Divorce, abuse, crime, and substance abuse levels are almost equal.

The end of the age is the time set by the Lord to cleanse His Temple.  He’s going to show that there’s a difference between His kingdom and the world.  It will soon become impossible to straddle the fence.

If you’re wise, you’ll make your decision now to serve Christ wholeheartedly.  Don’t wait until the weeding forces you to make up your mind.  Don’t miss out on a single thing that the Lord has planned for you.

We live in exciting times.  If you go all out for the Lord, then I can promise you that you’ll be a part of the greatest adventure the world has ever known.

Question: How different should we be from the world?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2013 in Encouragement, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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The Last Days – God is Serious About Weeding

LightningI have been posting about the weeding that God will do in His kingdom during the last days.  It’s recorded in Matthew 13:24-41.  You can read my last few posts to see how the Lord will do this weeding.

The two things weeded out will be everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  Along these same lines, Jesus makes a sobering statement in Matthew 18.  I am convinced that most believers are unaware of what He meant when He said it.  It’s usually taken out of context.

“Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin!  Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!  If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.  It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.  And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
Matthew 18:7-9

Whenever I’ve heard this Scripture preached, the message was always about personal sin.  I’ve heard it taught, “It would be better to cut your hand off, than to continue in sin.”  While sin does have the power to ruin your life, Jesus was speaking of something deeper here.

Notice the context.  He wasn’t talking about physical body parts that cause sin.  The Lord referred to the man through whom they come.

I can see countless examples of when my own hands, feet and eyes have participated in my sin. Yet, I cannot honestly say that the sin was initiated by that part of my body.  Sin has always been conceived and planned out by my own will.  My body had no choice but to follow my decision into sin.

Jesus knows that it’s not the body that initiates the sin.  He’s talking about people who cause sin.  When the Lord uses the term hand, foot, and eye, I’m convinced by the larger context of His teaching that He’s talking about His attitude toward His body – the Church.

Only in the Body of Christ can a member cause the body to sin.  Please be warned.  You may think that your role in the church is as indispensable as a hand or a foot.  But, if you’re offending the body, the Lord has no qualms about losing a member to save the body.

Jesus is very serious about dealing with those who cause offense.  This is one of the things we are going to see being weeded out of the church by God in the last days.  As a matter of fact, I think that we’re already beginning to experience God’s cleansing process.

Make sure that your faith is bringing health to the body of Christ.

Question: What can you do to make the church a better place?

© Nick Zaccardi 1013

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Power of God, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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The Last Days – Weeding the Kingdom

WeedingI have been posting about Jesus’ parable found in Matthew 13:24-41.  Did you know that very soon a weeding is going to take place in the body of Christ?  Actually, I believe that it may already have begun.

In the parable, Jesus said that there were going to be elements of the enemy’s kingdom mixed in with His sons and daughters.  In the parable the angels inquire, “Sir, didn’t You sow good seed into Your field?  Where did all these evil ones come from?”

Jesus explains that it was the work of the Devil.

The angels then ask Him, “Do you want us to go pull them up?”

“No”, He answers, “because while you’re pulling up the evil ones you may root up, hurt, or destroy My sons and daughters.  Let both groups grow together until the end of the age.  At that time I’ll tell the angels, first collect the sons of the evil one, tie them up and burn them.  Then, gather My people and bring them into My dwelling place.”

Here you can see that Christ is not so much concerned with the weeds that are way out on the fringes.  It’s the weeds that are mixed up with His kingdom that He wants to do something about.  As we approach the end of the age, there’s going to be a time when God starts weeding.

I’ve seen some things happen in my lifetime that were unheard of in the past.  Ministries that we thought were incredible seem to have gotten plucked up because there were some things that were wrong going on below the surface.  God is exposing sin and saying, “I want that out of My kingdom.”

I believe that as we get closer to the end of the age, we’re going to see more and more of God’s weeding going on.  That’s what Jesus wanted to communicate to His disciples.  Don’t expect to have a kingdom that’s perfect right from the start.

Instead, He warned them that on earth there was going to be people with impure motives in His kingdom.  There are going to be people among us that are not really living for Christ.  They may claim to be Christians, but they’re poisonous.  In my last post I talked about the specifics of that poison.

As we approach the end of the age, we’re going to see a new move of the Spirit of God as He weeds His kingdom.  I believe that very soon, a separation is going to take place.  Just as Jesus said, the Son of Man is going to send out His angels to expose, uproot, and remove those things that are not a part of His plan for the church.  We, as believers, must be prepared for this to occur by realizing that the hand of God is in it.

Question: Do you see this weeding process as already starting?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Return of Christ, The Church

 

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The Last Days – Are You a Weed?

WeedIn my last post I started talking about a parable found in Matthew 13:24-41.  I believe it’s talking about the times we live in right now.

In it, Jesus explains that through the centuries, the kingdom of God and the world will mature alongside of one another until the end approaches.  Then, as we get close to the return of the Lord, a weeding will take place.  What is the nature of these weeds?  That’s what I want to talk about in today’s post.

According to the parable, both kingdoms begin to sprout.  You could also say they begin coming into fruition.  The church is starting to become what God wants it to become.  The closer we get to the ministry of Christ, the closer we are to harvest time.

The parable also tells us that the weeds are the enemy’s kingdom sown right alongside of us.  The word Jesus uses for weed is a plant called darnel.  It’s a special plant that looks exactly like wheat.

The downside of having it in your field is the fact that it contains a deadly poison.  Not only that, but if it’s planted next to wheat you can’t tell them apart.  As a matter of fact, everything about them looks the same until the harvest.  At harvest time wheat starts turning that beautiful, golden color.  Darnel, however, turns black.

If you were to eat darnel, it would cause sleep, convulsions, nausea, and even death.  It’s a poison.  It’s not good for human consumption.

So what Jesus is saying is that there’s going to be a battle going on until the end of the age.  This is because two different families are going to be on the earth at the same time with two vastly different agendas.  There will be two groups of people that are becoming two different kingdoms.  One of those kingdoms is poison and one is life giving.

“The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.”
Matthew 13:41

First, He says that the angels will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin or literally, causes offense and stumbling.  Wow!  That’s probably half the battle right there.  If we can get rid of the things that cause stumbling and that cause offense, living for Christ would get a whole lot easier.

The second type of weed mentioned by the Lord is all who do evil.   Literally it says all without law.  He is speaking here of those who are not submitted to Christ – they are without law.  These people don’t care what the Lord wants them to do – they have their own agenda.  Too many people in this generation are “serving” God on their own terms.  That is unacceptable to Him.

If you find yourself in one of these two categories, take the time right now to repent and become a life-giving member of the body of Christ.

Question: Have you ever experienced the poison of these “weeds” in a church setting?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Return of Christ, The Church

 

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