Jan 9, 2017

Hello Esther,

Please pray for me. I am the only one in my family who is serving the Lord. I am feeling isolated, but I know God is in control. I trust God with all my heart. Please pray for me and my family. I cannot receive personal emails. Just to know that you will pray for me is a great comfort to me.

Thank you so much.

Jane.

Dear Jane,

I did receive your prayer request and since you cannot receive communication via email, I just want to let you know that you and your family are in my prayers. You sound like a strong believer. Keep trusting Him; remember His promises of hope and an eternal future of glory. We also know He wishes for no one to perish (2 Peter 3:9) and your prayers for your family are important.

You are not alone. You have many brothers and sisters in the Lord, and most important—you have Jesus who has promised to never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8). Read your Bible often and you will not feel quite so isolated.

And think of your feeling of isolation as a gift, as odd as that may sound. Sometimes when we feel so alone, we can grow more deeply in our relationship with the Lord. When it is all said and done, Jesus will carry you through this season of your life and you will be glad you were given the opportunity to stay faithful to Him even under difficult circumstances.

God bless you and strengthen you.

In God’s love,

Esther


Dear Esther,

I have read an article recently from an American site which has troubled me somewhat. I live in the UK. This article states that lukewarm Christians will miss the Rapture and these people will repent and have to go through the Tribulation where they will be martyred by beheading. In the light of the recent activity of ISIS this is troubling many people today.

I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus when I was a child of 8 and have loved him for 62 further years. Circumstances however make me feel that I am lukewarm because lifestyle these days includes TV, other entertainment and not very much fellowship.

With the problems that are increasing around the world our anticipation of our Savior’s return is something precious to cling to.

I was always taught that once saved always saved and as individuals we are secure and can look with confidence for Jesus return. The Scriptures teach that the final church on earth, the Laodicean church, is lukewarm and the Lord will cast them out. This as I understand it the professing church which is not the true believers.

Surely the hope of the true Christian is sure…

In the parable of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins the wise ones are taken and the foolish ones left. The article I read equates the lukewarm Christians to the foolish virgins. Surely the foolish virgins are people who think they are Christians but they haven’t accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

What do you think on this emotive subject? Thank you for your previous articles.

Your brother in Christ,

Peter

 

Dear Peter,

Thank you for your letter. This ministry is a great blessing to me, thanks to all the wonderful readers and those who write in with various concerns. One thing you can be sure of is this: If you search the Internet you will find all kinds of conflicting and confusing information. Some biblically related information posted on the Internet is very good, very edifying.

However, some of the dynamics that go on remind me of a “Wild West” high-stakes gambling showdown where a potpourri of self-styled “spiritual” and Pop Christian “gurus” put down stakes (their websites), vying to win the big pot (adulation, fame, glory, money). This Wild West showdown has prompted many non-Christians to dismiss the authenticity of the Bible.

Misinformation on the Internet is widespread. That is why it is always important to search the Scriptures daily and compare anything we read with the Word of God to see if it is in keeping with God’s truth. Some people have a talent for manipulating Scripture and using it for their own selfish agenda. We see this time and time again in articles published on the Internet; in books, television sermons—or from the teaching and preaching that goes on in some local churches.

Peter, your best source, the only source you can truly rely on is the Bible. You will find many good articles on the Internet but one must be very careful and discerning and always do as we are commanded:

“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

I have studied the Foolish Virgin Parable quite a lot, and have read numerous articles with varying opinions on the subject (some quite convincing in regard to whatever argument they are espousing). But the only reliable conclusion I can come to is that the parable is telling us to be ready, and not get distracted and fall into the ways of the world.

Some pastors teach the partial-Rapture doctrine, but there is no passage in the Bible which teaches it or even hints at it. The partial-Rapture doctrine is not biblical. All true Christians will be raptured when Jesus returns, as Paul said:

“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51).

Even if a genuine Christian is in the middle of committing a sin he or she will be raptured. An impossible sinless condition is not what determines if we are raptured or left behind. If it were, very few believers would be raptured for we all sin throughout each and every day of our lives (to some degree).

It is highly improbable that any believer could go through just one day without committing a single sin of thought, word, deed or motive.

“If we should say we have not sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

The average believer commits so many sins each day that it is difficult to keep track of them and virtually no one does. We may keep track of the big sins, but not every sin of the mind or word. Every time you get angry it is a sin unless it is righteous anger caused by someone blaspheming God or making disparaging remarks about believers or the Bible.

We should be very thankful that our salvation is not dependent on whether we continue to perfectly abide in Christ—for ALL of us stop abiding many times every day. Every time we sin we stop abiding. Unless we ask for forgiveness and then read or meditate on Scripture after asking forgiveness, we continue to not abide.

Most believers go through life notabiding. We should also be very thankful that our being raptured is not dependent on our imperfect condition. If it is, then only a handful of believers will be raptured.

That is not to say that those who profess Christ but are imposters, and not really saved will be raptured. Those so-called Christians are the ones who are Christians in name only. They do not have an authentic relationship with the Lord Jesus and their heart motives are not aligned with the truth of God’s Word. They are not truly born-again. These are often “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15).

We all fall short and sin, but when we cultivate a truly repentant heart then we will be less inclined to fall into chronic sins that cut-off our relationship with the Lord. It is not so much a question of, “Will all Christians be raptured?” Rather, the question is: Who is truly a Christian? Scripture gives us the answer:

“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Matthew 7:16-18).

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

True born-again believers do not operate from their ego and self-centered, self-righteousness toward the brethren. Have you ever heard someone say:”I love you in Christ” as he or she works to harm you? This type of hypocrisy reveals a person’s warped idea of what a believer in Christ is.

People like this pollute the Body of Christ with their personal selfish confusion never thinking that when they look in the mirror—the image revealed is one of erroneous judgment, never examining themselves and taking self-responsibility for what they may have done to create an awkward or unpleasant situation:

“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5-6).

“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:17-18).

Peter, if you have any doubt about your salvation and fear that you will be left behind, then do as Scripture teaches and examine yourself.

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

You say you feel that you are lukewarm because your lifestyle these days includes TV, other entertainment and not very much fellowship. I ask you, why?

Have you lost your first love?

“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).

The Lord chastens whom He loves and we all need to be chastened periodically:

If you want to make sure you are truly converted judge yourself. If you judge yourself you will not be judged. When you are chastened of the Lord it’s so you are not condemned with the world.

“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:31-32).

God wants us to have an ongoing authentic relationship with Him through prayer, worship, Bible study and fellowship with other believers. Our faithfulness and the depth of our commitment to Him determine our spiritual growth. God wants us to give our ALL to Him.

How would you feel if you were pushed to a corner somewhere with other things piled on top of you and rarely got any attention? God wants your attention!

He asks us to communicate with Him, as you can see all throughout the Scriptures. We must make the Lord our first priority and not place Him aside and barely give Him the time of day. It is through our love for Him that we are obedient and want to please Him. Our walk with the Lord should be a disciplined endeavor to grow spiritually (and emotionally), and let go of the worldly distractions that fill our minds with all kinds of godless images and rhetoric.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We truly are living in perilous times, and getting very serious about our commitment to the Lord must take precedence over everything else. The Lord has to be number one in our lives. You know the truth about the Lord, but there are plenty who are still out there lost as can be, and the devil would like nothing more that for good Christians to become complacent, apathetic and ineffective for the cause of Christ. Be careful that you are not lulled to sleep while the enemy is busy wrecking havoc.

Our purpose is to serve the Lord. We are saved by His abiding grace but it is because of our love and respect for Him that we are obedient and fulfill our individual callings. It is easy to lose perspective and forget we are in the midst of a spiritual war.

We must never let down our guard. The enemy is very crafty and we must not sit on the sidelines while he is busy ushering as many souls as he can to the gates of hell.

“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’” (Matthew 22:37).

Please find some true believers that you can regularly fellowship with. Peter, I pray you will get deeply into your Bible and rededicate your life to the Lord. Give the Lord ALL of you.

Considering the daily stresses from the news reports alone, it is easy for our human nature to escape into mind-numbing “entertainment.” But all that does is pull us further away from the Lord as we do little or nothing for the kingdom of God.

We were created to serve the Lord with the talents He has given us. All that really matters in this life is what we do for Him. One day we will all stand before the Jesus, our Almighty King and Savior to give an accounting of our lives.

Let us not be found standing in regret for wasting our precious time here on this earth when we could have been serving Him. Let us all hear the words: “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

I hope to hear from you, Peter, in the future with an update on how you are doing.

In God’s love,

Esther

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:11-14).

Last Modified on February 12, 2017
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