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The Need To Focus

 

By Dr. Richard Ing

June 1, 2007

 
FOCUSING ON PRIORITIES   

                What if you were alone in your house and a fire broke out.  You call the fire department and then realize that you have fifteen minutes to get out safely.  What would you take with you?  Perhaps you would take jewelry, money or irreplaceable documents or photos with you, or maybe your computer or expensive clothes or maybe your pet fish.

            What if you had only ten minutes, five?  What if you had to get out in ten seconds?  What if you had only your underwear on?  What would you do?

            My guess is that you would focus on priorities – what is most precious to you.   Some choices take more time to execute than others.  It takes only a few seconds to grab jewelry from off a dresser top; but considerably longer to work the combination to your safe so that you could extract precious items.  But as time gets shorter and shorter, your choices become more limited.  Finally, when time became really short, you would only think of saving your own life.  Never mind that you only have your underwear on – life is more important than embarrassment.  It’s the highest priority.

            The world is like a house on fire.  Total destruction is coming soon, according to the Bible.  As time grows shorter, your priorities and choices become increasingly more important.  Suppose you decide that your top priority is to get involved more with evangelism with the time you have left, or feed the poor or heal the sick or learn more about the Bible?  There are a myriad of choices to make during the time we have left.  What if the curtain will come down in four years?  This is not to say that the world will come to an end in four years; but rather that time will run out on most of your choices.  If you wanted to create a big church, for instance, you would probably run out of time.              What would be your highest priorities today?

    
GOD’S PRIORITIES

            What God considers the highest priorities of all may not be yours or mine.  Perhaps it would be wise to consider what God’s priorities for the end times are, so that we can line up with His heart and fulfill His desires and intentions for us.

            It is clear that from the very beginning of creation, deep in His heart of hearts, God has desired two things:  (1) perfect sons and daughters conformed unto the image of His Son, Jesus; and (2) a perfect church to become the Bride of Christ when Jesus comes back. 

            Romans 8:29 says, “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  Our destiny is to become like Jesus inwardly, perfectly mature in Jesus Christ.  Attaining and reaching perfection was intended by God to be our ultimate goal.

            2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  When we look in a mirror, we should see the Christ in us.  It is the desire of God that He have perfect sons and daughters.   That’s one of the reason why He gave us the Holy Ghost. 

            In Ephesians 4:11-13, the apostle Paul stated:

            And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  (Underlining added)

God intends that every Christian become a perfect man, to reach the stature of fullness of Christ.  He also intends to have a perfect church.

            We find the following in Ephesians 5:25-27: 

            Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.  That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  (Underlining added)

The Church was intended by God to be perfect, without spot, wrinkle or blemish, a virgin.  Instead, the Church today is filled with every spot, wrinkle or blemish imaginable.  Instead of a perfect and beautiful virgin for a bride, Jesus has an wrinkled, blemished and spotty old hag that has fornicated with many different religions.

            When the world as we know it comes to an end, a new heaven and a new earth will be created by God.  Rev. 21:1.  “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  Rev. 21:2.  Of course, new Jerusalem is not just roads and buildings; it is made up of the people of God who have become perfect in His eyes.

            John said,

            Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.  And he said unto me, These are the true sayings of God.  Rev. 19:7-9.  (Underlining added)

Jesus Christ is coming for His bride.  There will be a marriage supper when the Lord Jesus and His bride become one. 

            His bride “hath made herself ready.”  That means that there will be saints that will strive to make themselves pure and holy, without spot, wrinkle or blemish.  In the end, God will clothe the Bride with “fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”  We will do our part and God will do His part.

            Two weeks ago, during intercessory prayer, I shared that I had a vision that night.  I saw someone hand me a wedding invitation.  It was beautiful – large, deep red in color, with gold lace borders and a wide gold ribbon.  I believe that it was a wedding invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Lest anyone say that I am boasting, let me say that I also believe that everyone in this church has received the same marriage invitation.  But not everyone who receives the invitation will attend the marriage banquet of the Lamb.  Not everyone will become perfected in Jesus Christ, and not every church will qualify as the Bride of Christ.  There will be only one perfect church made up of perfect saints.

RINGING DOWN THE CURTAIN

            God cannot and will not ring down the curtain on the world until and unless He has perfect saints and a perfect church.  His word never comes back void and His plans and desires never fail.  God will have his perfect sons and daughters whether or not you and I are in it.  These end times will eventually record the appearance of both the true church of God and the man-child army she births.  Rev. 12:1-5.   Those in the true church and the Army of God will never taste death.  They will go from life on earth to life everlasting in heaven.

            It doesn’t mean that we have to be totally perfect in Christ today.  However, we must be in a position so that by the time He returns, the final touches will be completed.  God will give those that qualify “fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”  We have but a short time to attain perfection in Christ.

ANOTHER CONDITION TO HIS RETURN

            The end-time Army of God, made up of perfect saints, must also make an appearance before the end.  The Bible is clear that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven, where he will reign until all His enemies are made His footstool.  That means that Jesus will not return until the people of God on earth come together as a mighty army and start to war against the demonic kingdom and in the end defeat the kingdom of darkness.  There are many scriptures that say that Jesus is going to remain in heaven, at the right hand of the Father until His enemies are destroyed or made His footstool.  1 Corinthians 15:24-26 says:

            Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Of course, the expression, “put under His feet,” or “made His footstool” means victory over your enemies.  Jos. 10:24-26. 

            Hebrews 10:12-13 says, “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.”  Also, Mt. 22:44; Mk. 12:36; Lk. 20:42; Ac. 2:34; Heb. 1:3.  The word “expecting” means “to wait for, to anticipate.”  Jesus is not coming back until all His enemies are defeated. 

            Therefore, three things must happen before God allows the end of the age to take place:  (1) the emergence of spiritually mature saints conformed unto the image of Jesus; (2) a perfect church; and (3) all of His enemies are defeated. 

REVIVAL

            Once revival/harvest comes, it will mark the end of the world because persecution and tribulation must soon follow.  Therefore, God will not bring revival/harvest until all of His desires and plans are capable of fulfillment first.  If Jesus is going to sit at the right hand of the Father until all of His enemies are made His footstool, that means that someone has to do the warring and fighting on earth.  Confronting and defeating the demonic kingdom has been the responsibility of the church and every saint ever since Jesus walked the earth in the flesh.  Revival cannot come without the saints warring against Satan’s kingdom.

            The apostle Paul made it clear that all Christians are called to be good soldiers in Jesus Christ.  2 Ti. 2:3.   Exceedingly few Christians and churches are battling the forces of evil, much less even know how.  The army of God will be very small.

WHAT TO DO?

            We need to make God’s priorities our own priorities.  Reuben recently had the following vision:

            i saw a group of people just sitting on chairs waiting.  They seemed to be suspicious about something.  There were both men and women, but everyone wore long whiskers, even the women and they all had the same colored hair – rust brown.  Suddenly there was an explosion and I saw some of the people disintegrate like in the Star Trek movies where they would be transported to another place.

 

There is a cloud of witnesses looking down on us, cheering us on.  It’s been a long time coming and various saints throughout the ages have been waiting for the end of the world and the return of Jesus.  God is not a respecter of persons.  Men and women will be the same when He calls His army.  In Revelation 12:5, the man-child is whisked up into heaven bodily to be the army of God, like in Star Trek.

BE IN HIS ARMY

            We need to go to war against Satan’s kingdom.  There are very few churches or Christians casting out devils and binding up Satan’s ruler spirits in the mid-heavens.  Very few saints want to get involved in spiritual warfare; yet, that is the very purpose of making us soldiers of Jesus Christ.  Most churches and saints are disobedient to their calling.  But most of all, we need to submit to the hand of God and allow Him to perfect us, no matter what it takes.  I believe that a perfect Christian must understand and be able to war against Satan’s kingdom.  I’m not saying that he or she must know deliverance, healing, inner healing and spiritual warfare in the heavenlies as we know it.  I’m saying that a mature Christian must have the same warrior’s heart as the Lord and have the ability to defeat the enemy.  Why else would God be called the “Lord of Hosts” two-hundred and forty-two times in the Old Testament alone?  God is a warrior with a warrior’s heart.

PREPARING AND PERFECTING OURSELVES

            I believe that the Lord put us together with Sharon H. to show us that He is not looking for famous, learned or even intelligent people to be in His army.  Sharon is only four feet, eleven inches tall.  She was a housewife in her forties and did not graduate from college.  She just became a pastor last year.  Sharon was beaten by her husband and threatened with death many times.  Finally, the Lord told her to leave her house and just take some belongings and her two children because her husband planned to kill her.  Her life was turned upside down, inside out.  She was left with virtually nothing.  She cried out to the Lord and depended on God for everything. 

            Sharon is a very humble and pure person.  She has gone to heaven many times and communed with Jesus face to face.  She is known in heaven by the angels and is called “the handmaiden of the Lord.”  Her love for God is so intense that she cannot stand it when she finds herself falling out of vision and coming back to earth.  Her soul weeps and weeps because it longs to be with Jesus.

            Several times, Jesus told her that she will be in His end-time army and that she needed to learn as much about deliverance as possible.  That’s why she invited me to teach at her church.  We learned at least several things from her experiences: (1) love of God is vital; (2) we must trust and depend on God for everything; (3) we must humble ourselves and repent of our sins; (4) we must know deliverance.  Sharon is just a housewife. She never went to college, she is not a Bible scholar, she is not an evangelist or preacher, and she seems just an ordinary saint; but she knows the Lord more intimately than most.  She has been to the throne room of God many times, has sat down with Jesus in a small, private garden and conversed with Him for hours.  She has had many visions of heaven and hell.  Angels visit her frequently and Jesus appears to her all the time.

            The point is – being perfected in God doesn’t mean that we have to know the Bible inside and out, be able to quote scriptures freely and fast and pray constantly.  All the evangelism, Bible reading, prayer, fasting, feeding the poor and doing other good works will not get you there either. 

            In the end, only God can truly change us.  But, God will not change us without our permission and without our true repentance, humility, obedience and surrender to Him.  Sharon loves God more than anything else, and her love is true.  God showed her that when she was only around ten years old, she used to sing to the cows and preach the gospel to the trees on her parents’ farm.  She sang love songs to Jesus all the time.  In high school, she was so much in love with Jesus that she would write piles of love letters to Him.  She knew how to touch the heart of God and was in fellowship with Him without knowing it.

            God has many servants that do tremendous good works, that evangelize, read the Bible, pray and fast, and so forth; but He has very few Christians who have surrendered their lives completely out of love for God.  Some may surrender their lives for other reasons, but only love for God and mankind will do.  There are many Christians that are famous, rich and powerful and who do incredible works, supposedly for God, but they can also remain inwardly selfish, self-serving and covetous.  Works alone will not change us.  1 Co. 13.  God is after our heart.

            Many think that they are humble and have surrendered everything to God, but they are still prideful and worldly.  As Jeremiah, the prophet, said, the heart of man is desperately wicked and deceitful in all its ways.

            Until we can humble ourselves, truly repent of our sins and surrender everything to the Lord Jesus, we will never be perfected.  Pray that God will give us the gift of repentance.  Pray that we will be able to surrender everything to Him.  Ask God to perfect you in Christ, whatever it takes.  That’s priority number one.


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