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Last Days Lifestyle

Last Days Lifestyle

If you can remember this month’s messages, we learned about praying for the persecuted church and how to prepare for persecution. Today, I have good news about persecution! That is, we could be living in the Last Days before Jesus returns! To those who do not love Jesus, that is a scary thought or something not to consider. To those who love Him, His return is exciting in spite of persecution.

So, as the world gets progressively more evil, how should we think and live? Jesus gave us some instructions for our lifestyle that will prepare us for His return.

Luke 21:28, 34-36 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near…But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Notice what Jesus said to do: watch, stay awake, and pray. Peter also gives us some specific things we should do while we wait for Jesus to return.

1 Peter 4:7-11 But the end of all things is near; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

Verse 7 says, “therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” The same things Jesus said. Do we understand this? Are we practicing it? It says be serious and watchful. About what? If we are not serious about our faith, we will not pray continuously and watch for deception. Instead, we will fall into sin and not be ready for Jesus’ coming.

Ephesians 5:15-18 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

The world offers a lot of things to please our fleshly appetites, but these distract us from walking in the Spirit and eventually will destroy us.

Jesus warned us in Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

It is difficult to succumb to temptation if you are serious and constantly praying; that is, talking to God. Praying is necessary for victory over the flesh. Prayer is powerful because God responds to prayer; the devil is hindered by prayer; and we are changed as we pray.

2 Timothy 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.

That is why we need to be watchful and prayerful. We need to get serious and pray continuously to overcome the difficulties that come with persecution and temptation.

Verses 8 & 9 say, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

In these Last Days, we need the support of each other. If we don’t love one another, we will destroy one another—proving we are not really Christians, because we will be producing the fruit of the flesh instead of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We will also be disobeying Jesus.

John 15:12-17 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

Unfortunately, in the Last Days, most people will not love one another and will bear the fruit of the flesh.

2 Timothy 3:2-4 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

However, the fruit Jesus is speaking about Christians bearing is the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The fruit of the Spirit is the fruit Jesus appointed us to bear. Does this fruit describe you?

When Jesus talked about the Last Days, He prophesied in Matthew 24:12-13 “And because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stand firm to the end will be saved.”

Who will be saved? Those who endure to the end. Furthermore, It is by our fruit, especially our love for one another, that we will be known and judged.

Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Verses 10-11 say, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”

The Holy Spirit has given each of us gifts that we are to use to serve others in the Name of Jesus. However, it is our love, and not our gifts, by which we will be known. For Jesus warned that many counterfeit signs and wonders will appear in the Last Days that will deceive many.

Matthew 24:21-27 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

With this warning in mind, we must use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ today. Tomorrow may not come. This may be my last message. Perhaps Jesus will return today, and then it will be too late for unbelievers. So we need to be busy sharing the Gospel and making disciples as Jesus commanded.

What gift of the Spirit do I have, you may be asking yourself. Don’t focus on yourself or your gift. Focus on Jesus and listen to the Holy Spirit. Pay attention to the person before you and on what the Holy Spirit tells you to do or say in the Name of Jesus. He will give you the ability to accomplish the will of God by the power of God when you need it. Otherwise, you would be tempted to go about showing off some spiritual gift. Just pray and obey. Then you will see the gifts of the Holy Spirit flow through you.

While we wait for Jesus’ return, we must expect persecution. Jesus said in Matthew 24:9, "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.”

Paul reminded Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:12,In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Peter wrote to the persecuted Church in 1 Peter 4:12-14, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”

Jesus, Paul, and Peter agree that great persecution is coming to the Church. So expect it. Do not be surprised by persecution, but respond to it in a Christ-like manner. If we are not willing to die for Christ, then we will not live for Him nor be ready for His appearing. Jesus was willing to die for us. We should be willing to die for Him, if necessary.

Therefore, we must be prepared for persecution. For specific things to do, you can go to the church website and read the sermon that was preached 2 weeks ago, entitled “Preparing for Persecution”. I will not repeat that sermon now because there is something else that should be part of our lifestyle in the Last Days.

While we wait for Jesus to return, we are to continue living by the Word and preach it.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Continuing in the next chapter, 2 Timothy 4:1-4 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

In the Last Days, false teachers and prophets will appear and many will be deceived. If we are to remain true disciples of Jesus, we must continue in the Word. We have to devote ourselves in reading, studying, meditating, and applying the Word of God in our lives.

In addition to personally benefitting from the Word of God, we must continue to preach the Word, even if others do not like to hear it. In the Last Days, many people will only hear what they like to hear. Nevertheless, we must share the Gospel while there is still time so that those who will believe can be saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It may be too late if we procrastinate.

So, are you living a lifestyle that anticipates Jesus’ return? What if He came today—would you be ready? Jesus told a story to help us understand and prepare for His second coming, which will establish His Kingdom with His Bride, the Church.

Matthew 25:1-13, "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

As any big event approaches, be it a wedding, a vacation, a business opening, a new baby, or milestone anniversary, our attitudes and actions change as we become focused on that event. Everything we think and do revolves around preparation for that event. Now that we are nearing the second coming of Jesus, we must think and act differently as though Jesus is coming today. We should prepare by being filled with the Holy Spirit, the “oil” that burns and shines the light of Jesus Christ in our lives. Then He will recognize us as one of His because we bear the fruit of His Spirit.

The coming of Jesus is nearer than we think it is. Take care that you are not deceived nor distracted by the world’s belief and attractions. Now is the time to grow closer to Jesus.

2 Peter 3:17-18 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

I pray we will live out these Last Days with a lifestyle that glorifies God. Here is the last thing Jesus says in His Word and what our response should be:

Revelation 22:20-21 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Can you also say “Amen” to this announcement? Does it excite you? If Jesus returns today, are you ready to welcome Him? Would you rise to meet Him in the air or would you be destroyed because you didn’t bear the fruit of His Spirit? Remember, the object lesson Jesus gave when He cursed a fig tree because it bore no fruit.

He also told us in John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Again, Jesus is looking for the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Those who bear the fruit of the Spirit belong to Him.

Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is only produced by those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who died on the cross to atone for our sin. Because they believe Jesus is Lord, they repent of their sin, die to their old life in a water baptism, are born again by the Holy Spirit, and begin living by the grace of the Holy Spirit, who gives them a new lifestyle. It is by the Holy Spirit that the fruit of the Spirit is produced in us—not by our own works. This is the grace of God that saves us by our faith in Jesus. The fruit identifies God’s children, who are continually denying the flesh and living by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.