The Bare Soul - April 15, 2012
Children of the King

John 14:18 - I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

In our present culture of westernized Christianity, there is much buzz regarding the "signs of the times" and the rapture of the church. While biblical prophecy certainly points to Christ's imminent return, we could conceivably still be years from witnessing His reappearing. Regardless of when the King does return to earth to restore His Lordship over planet earth, we are told to be vigilant in our waiting as those in Jesus' story about the ten virgins (Matthew 25:13). As these were instructed to have oil in their lamps, so we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and to quench not the Holy Spirit---a metaphor regarding the spiritual oil that comes down from heaven (I Thessalonians 5:19). He is truly our Helper in the absence of the Son. However, where is His evidence in our waiting for the Lord's return? While some are crying out for revival and for God to do a great ingathering in these last days, there is a mindset in many churches today to simply wait for His return rather than waiting on God. Many of us would rather fellowship at the local buffet than seek God in a church basement on our knees for souls. While we claim to be children of the King, we more closely resemble those whom we should be asking God to save. We are counting on that sinners prayer we prayed long ago to ensure us entrance into Christ's kingdom. However, little we have done in the meantime would make someone say to us, "You must be a Christian, for you resemble Jesus!" These may be in for a shock someday as they are standing at eternity's door, realizing they have no oil whatsoever in their lamps (Matthew 25:1-13).

Jesus' discourse to His disciples in John chapters 13 through 16 gives us a clear understanding of what it means to enter into relationship with Christ and His Father. Throughout these chapters and verses, the Lord tells us we must obey, love, and abide in Him. This is simplified, of course, as there are other themes in Christ's Johannine Discourse. However, love through obedience and Christ's promise of His presence through the Holy Spirit is a major thrust of these scriptures. (Just as John 17 is Christ's intercession to the Father to make our unity with Him possible.) Some will use the text in the middle of this discourse in an attempt to merely sit back and wait on Christ's appearing. These have no intention of living like Christ, but they want and desire the eternal security these verses offer. For instance, many like to use our lead verse as validation of their soon anticipated escape from this earth by the rapture of the church. However, this is not what Jesus was saying in context. The Lord is talking about the Helper or the Holy Spirit in the two previous verses (John 14:16-17). What many fail to see is Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit, but few embrace Him as they should while many grieve Him. These are expecting Jesus, but they don't want to be bothered by this "Holy Ghost" that wants to meddle in their day to day living. This is the reason why so many of us still look like pitiful orphans "wandering through this world of woe."

We cannot say we love Jesus and not love the Holy Spirit whom He has sent to do Christ's bidding until He returns. Their natures are exact representations of the Father's whom we may claim to love in word, yet often deny when it comes to how we obey. Without accepting both the Son and the Spirit, we have not the Father (II John 1:9). How do we embrace the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit? By obeying Christ's commandments. We sing "O, how I love Jesus" but do we obey Him? This is the reality of loving Him according to John 14:15: "If you love Me, you will keep my commandments." This means looking toward heaven with an expectation of Christ's return, but also to busy ourselves with the work He has left us to do through the Holy Spirit. This means no compromise, beloved. If we are counting on Christ to save us someday in the "sweet by and by," we best understand that the Holy Spirit is here to perfect us in salvation. For without sanctification, no man will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

It is our decision: Will we sit on the sidelines and wait for Christ and His return? If so, we may be eternally disappointed. However, if we decide we want to be "in the game," suited up by the Holy Spirit for whatever God has for us, then we are wise like the virgins in our aforementioned example. The more we obey accordingly, the more we prove to be Christ's disciples. Then, beloved, He can say to the Father, "They love Me, Daddy, because they listen and do what I say through the Helper We have left them!" If we resemble spiritual orphans, it is our fault because we have resisted the Holy Spirit. However, if we will but trust in Christ and embrace the loving hand of the Helper, then we will become one with the Triune God and will forever resemble children of the King.

Heavenly Father, help us to look to the clouds, yet at the same time allow us to look within our hearts to ensure we are obeying Your Son through the Holy Spirit. May we anticipate Your return, yet be at peace with whatever You desire us to do until You return. We submit to Your love. Change us into Your image as sons and daughters of the Most High. In Your perfect Son's Name, Yeshua, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

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