Thursday, June 25, 2009

Never Stumble

Matthew 24:3-14,

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

    4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

[Wars, false Christ's, conflict around the world, famine, and earthquakes in various or "diverse" places, are all signs of the "season" that will precede the end-times.]

9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10
At that time many will turn away [
skandalizo (skan-dal-id'-zo) to cause to stumble]
from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but whoever stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

[Christian persecution is already happening in China, Singapore, and almost every Muslim country, but verse 9 says this will expand to "all nations". Any many who profess faith in Christ will turn away, stumble or fall, and even betray other believers, following false prophets, and false Christ's. But even during this terrible time, the faithful will preach the gospel to all nations, before the end. It disturbs me to think that some who come to church with us, will be those who will stumble, and betray faithful Christians. Sadly too many people take the initial step of faith toward Christ, and stop there. As we saw in the parable of the sower, these will never bear fruit to give witness of their conversion.]


2 Peter 1

1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

[Before your conversion Satan had you locked in a box called corruption, where he could always bind you because of your fleshly desire called lust. By grace through faith, we have been born of the spirit and escaped from this bondage of corruption. But faith is not the end this lifelong Journey of Truth we read about in John 14:6, it is just the first step.]

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.


  • Faith – persuasion, reliance upon Christ for salvation, assurance
  • Virtue – praiseworthy valor, devotion to your mission
  • Knowledge – devotion to study God's word
  • Self-control – temperance, discipline, not wasting what you have
  • Perseverance - enduring, patience, to continue to the end
  • Godliness – holiness, being separated from corrupting influences
  • Brotherly kindness – genuine affection for brothers and sisters in Christ
  • Love – Agape, loving the well-being of another, self giving love

These represent the Christian walk, the steps we add to faith to attain Christ likeness. This is the growth we should see in the life of every believer.]

For if these things are yours and abound, you
will be neither barren nor unfruitful
in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

[Just as we did not obtain faith through our own strength, neither will we these other steps. We seek them in and through the Lord. We pursue them in our daily conversation with the Lord, as he speaks to us through his word, and we speak to God through prayer. ]

Matthew 6

5 "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

[It is a sad irony, that the model prayer Jesus gave to teach us the essential attitudes for effective prayer, has itself been used as one of those vain repetitions. Some people only pray prayers written by others never speaking from their heart.]
8 "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

      Our Father in heaven,
      Hallowed be Your name.

[The word for father here is not formal but, familiar, It indicates a personal relationship. But Jesus did not say "my father" he said "our father" for the disciples, like us, have the adoption that makes us sons to our heavenly father. The first attitude of prayer is seeing it as a personal conversation with your father. "Hallowed" means holy, the second attitude of prayer is to remember the holiness of God]

       10 Your kingdom come.
      Your will be done
      On earth as it is in heaven.

[The third attitude of prayer is submission to the will of God. Not "God here is my list of stuff I want you to bless", but "God I stand ready to do your will"]
       11 Give us this day our daily bread.

[The forth attitude of prayer is trust, trusting God for your daily provision. This goes with submission for if we trust God to meet our needs we are more willing to submit to his will.]
       12 And forgive us our debts,
      As we forgive our debtors.

[The fifth attitude of prayer is forgiveness. Seeing Christ's blood was payment for all our sins, how can we hold any offence against a brother.]

       13 And do not lead us into temptation,
      But deliver us from the evil one.
      For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

[The sixth attitude of prayer is to resist temptation and evil. Satan is always waiting to tempt you to sin. Pray that you do not fall for his lies. The last attitude of prayer is hope. Always looking hopefully for the coming of God's kingdom. If we pray with these attitudes, pursuing these steps of faith, we will never stumble. Making your call and election sure, means living this lifetime journey of truth, following the steps of faith.]



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