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The End is Not Yet

July 21st, 2009 No comments

Matt 24:6

The coach was giving good advice. It was half-time and his team had a comfortable lead. He stood in front of the team and spoke with a serious tone. “Fellows, the one thing that could cause you to lose this game is to think that it is over before the last buzzer sounds. I expect you to play to the very end with the aggression and energy of a team that is behind but thinks it can win if it tries a little harder. Remember, the end is not yet!”

Jesus told His disciples the same thing. In Matthew 24 while describing the terrific calamities of tribulation He said a strange thing. “But the end is not yet.” Just because we see the signs and symbols of the end we have no right to stop working with fervent and aggressive energy in Christian ministry. Actually, Prophecy encourages our continual service – Matt 24:6. The condition of an evil world should not encourage us to give up but rather should solidify our determination to work harder – to do more for God while there is still time. Some day the end will come but until the very minute that it happens we have not excuse or reason to slow down or slack up in our work for the Lord.

This same message appears in Luke 15. It is there that Jesus through His descriptive knack at story telling reveals to us that Love excites our continual service – Luke 15:7, 10, 32. In that portion of scripture a shepherd risks much to find a lost sheep. A woman expends great effort in her endeavor to find a lost shekel. A father puts all aside in his focused concern to receive his lost son that he is sure will return from a life of sin. What was the motivation in each case? Love excites us to compel everyone to come to Christ. A common thought is repeated at the end of each story. Luke 15:7 – I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Luke 15:10 – Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:32 – It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. KJV Do you have any lost children? Do you have lost neighbors? Do you have lost friends? How can we even consider letting up while there is still time?

Finally, I want you to notice that Jesus exhorts our continual service. In Luke 19 Jesus gave the parable of the pounds. He told of a man that was going on a long journey. The man gave his servants each an opportunity to be productive while he was gone. When he returned they were held accountable for how productive they had been during his absence. In like manner Jesus gives us ministry opportunities. He gives us a chance to serve Him with active commitment. As He gave the servants ministry opportunities He said, “Occupy til I come.” – Luke 19:13. Work, keep busy, until I return. He did NOT say, “Work for me until you get old.” He did NOT say, “Work for me until you get discouraged.” He did NOT say, “Work for me until you think that there is no use doing any more since the world is getting so evil.” He said, “Keep busy UNTIL I return.” This timeless parable speaks to our generation as well. That is also the message of the great commission. Our commission is to accomplish His mission. Matthew 28:18-20 says, 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. KJV Did you notice that Jesus said He would be with us to the very end as we do our work of ministry. He is not going to stop short of the goal and neither does He give us license to do so.

I can almost hear Him praying in the Garden of the Gethsemene. He is in agony. The burden is so heavy that it seems that He can not bear its weight. It is a time of great concern. It is a time of great burden. Jesus longs to have a concentrated prayer support. Rising from the place of prayer He goes to get His disciples. Does He long for their encouragement? Does He plan to call them to come to pray by His side? Whatever His desire for the moment He is crushed with the disappointment of the inevitable. They are asleep. They had let Him down. “Fellows, couldn’t you just pray with me for one hour?”, He cries out in despair. Matt 26:40 Today He speaks to us. “Can’t you just continue to the end? Can’t I count on you to work diligently in Christian service for one short human lifetime?”

As we see the end nearing we must not let up in our work for Christ. Rather, seeing that there is not much time left we must double our efforts. The end is not ye… can He depend on you to continually be looking for opportunities to serve? Can He depend on you to be at your post of duty?

Dr. Gayle Woods

Categories: News

The Power of Addiction

July 21st, 2009 No comments

Mark 5:1-7

I believe it was 4 a.m. when the phone rang. “Bro. Woods,” the man on the other end said, “Our son needs prayer right now. He wants to get saved. He thinks that he is slipping into hell.”

A short time later I met them at the church. The young man was a member of a street gang. He was on hard drugs. He was rough. But during the night God got hold of him and began to dangle him over the fires of hell. He smelt the stench of the pit. He saw the smoke rising from the lake of fire.

As I read Scripture to him, counseled him and then prayed with him, I saw him go through the throes of agony. His body was overcome with convulsions. He was not able to hold down the bile that was in his stomach. He cried like a baby as he begged God for forgiveness.

Seeing the struggle for his soul I felt anger within. The power of sin that will cause a teenager to be addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, pornography and drugs deserved the heat of my rage. Sin is a powerful influence that will destroy an individual.

The only remedy is that which this young man discovered in those early morning hours. Jesus alone can break the chains of sin’s bondage from our lives. He alone can bring complete deliverance.

Dr. Gayle Woods

Categories: News