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Contemporary Issues
"Honouring Jehovah
in these Last Days"

by Rev Jack Sin 
(Pastor, Maranatha B-P Church)

Poignant words of challenge by godly saints of the past are often neglected or forgotten. Joshua, the able successor to Moses, led the Israelites through the conquest of Canaan. Although the battle is not totally over, this godly man had done his part to a large extent to ensure that the Israelites kept to the straight and narrow way. Joshua gave his final charge to Godís people in Joshua 23Ė24.

To the 2Ĺ tribes, the elderly saint has these immortal words of advice for them in Josh 22:5, "But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul." They were to be careful and watchful to obey and observe the law of God given to Moses. Beware that we do not forget and or rebel against instructions in our depraved nature. But as regenerate men, we have a new nature, we are to hear and keep Godís holy laws which are not burdensome nor grievous (1 John 5:3). Positively we are to resolve to continue to love the Lord our God, and His Word and to cleave to Him, and serve Him.

There are many distractions and challenges to this resolution. The world has many attractions and temptations to cause our affection and devotion to God to wane and decrease. Josh 23:11 says, "Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God." How do we achieve this? Josh 23:6 gives us the answer, "Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left" (look at each verb carefully and study them). We all have a spiritual drifting tendency from godliness into worldliness. To check that, make every conscious effort to combat against secular influences and worldly distraction to keep us away from our God. For the Israelites, the constant danger is compromise with Canaanites and acceptance of their idolatrous and immoral ways.

There are constant spiritual battles to fight every day for the Christian and the current ecclesiastical climate is compromising and co-operative with apostates who have deviated from the truth of Godís word. There are many perils and pitfalls that await us daily. If we are not careful, we may just fall for the bait, and be consumed by the evil one. Just one careless mistake and we can be disqualified from the race. The Christian needs to be vigilant lest he falls and be a disgrace to God. So Paul admonished in 1 Cor 9:24Ė26,"Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air." We need to have the same carefulness and alertness of the Apostle in these days of seduction and deception.

The Word of God is our strong protection and a tangible reminder of Godís holy law. Our Lord Jesus remembered the OT scriptures and quoted from it during the 40-day temptation in the wilderness. Paul exhorts us to put on the full armour of God in Eph 6:10Ė18. On top of this, be constantly in prayer and in vigilance and perseverance of the saints. Daniel prayed three times a day (Dan 6:10) and David prayed every morning (Ps 5:3). We must stand firm on the authority, perspicuity, preservation and sufficiency of Scriptures in these last days of spiritual confusion. The world and Satan will undermine the Scriptures with biblical vandalism in unreliable versions and cast doubts to discourage faith in Godís preserved Word.

Ministers and elders are to uphold the authoritative preaching of the inspired and infallible Word without apology and with great evangelical zeal, clarity and conviction. There is a grave duty vested on every preacher, elder, missionary and ordained minister today to carry on in the doctrines of grace, and the tenents of the Protestant Reformation, namelysola scriptura, sola gracia, sola fide, solus Christos and soli deo gloria. We are to preach the Word in season and out of season (2 Tim 4:1-2). For all of us, we are to beknowledge-based Christians (KBC), not ignorant of the precious historic and fundamental doctrine in the Word. Know the truth and it will set your free from deception and the confusion of our times. Be vigilant, diligent, always discern with biblical insight and prayer, asking Godís guidance in every important issue of life and not be ruled by our changeable emotions or just following friends or their opinions (1 Thes 5:21).

In Deut 10:12Ė19, Moses said the same and set off the divine requirement for a covenant people. Would you be interested if you could know Godís requirements of us? Before we do that, we need to know the Person who gave the requirements. He is described in Deut 10:17Ė19 as, "For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." He is the Almighty Jehovah, the Creator of heaven and earth, He is the Triune God who shows no prejudice nor favouritism. He is the living and true God who cannot be bribed by any man. He is just, righteous and holy.

Those who serve God must know who God is and His righteous demands that He makes on His people. He is the God to be revered and worshipped with fear and trembling, not to be manipulated with food or sacrifices or works. The divine requirements are given to Deut 10:20, "Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name." To serve God we have to circumcise our hearts as correctly said by Moses. It is not something external only, but the spiritual regeneration and transformation of our hearts to God. It is a repentant and contrite heart that is pleasing and acceptable to God (Ps 51:17). The most important organ in the body is the heart. Prov 4:23 says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Keeping Godís law is for our own good (Deut 10:13).

We are to love God and walk in His ways, and serve and cleave to Him with all our heart and soul. It is a consecrated and totally surrendered life. There is to be no compromise or half-hearted commitment. Luke 9:23 says, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." The Israelites learnt that they cannot accommodate Canaanite gods and Jehovah at the same time. It is not acceptable to God at all. Biblical separation is an imperative, not an option. There is the growing ecumenical progress in the world, the presence of heretical cultic groups, the seductive occultic practices, the New Age movement and psychological seduction, promise keepers, possibility thinking and laughing and fainting Ďrevivalsí (some are even Christians going for meditation classes, yoga, "lucky" crystals, star-gazing and geomancy).

Moses and Joshua set forth the divine standards for the people of God. All ministers of the gospel and elders must set the example first and the people are to follow as well. There is no half-hearted religion and there is no spiritual accommodation of the world, sin or false teaching. Let us be discerning and faithful in these confusing days of end time Christendom. Believers need to build a strong heart (Prov 4:23) and a clear conscience before God and man (Ps 51:17).

As Christians in the 21st century, we live dangerously in perilous times for the Lord. Wars and rumours of war filled the daily papers. Our days are numbered and it is time for us to ponder and be sober about the nearness of eternity. We are living in the world but not to be of the world. The world will not get better but worse and the church is not to be ignorant. Paul in Rom 13:11-13 admonish us aptly, "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying." Every Christian needs to be ready to meet our God at short notice and give an account of our lives (2 Cor 5:10).

The floodtide of cults and the occult abound in these days and the Anti-Christ will get the upper hand in the short run, deceiving many (Matt 24:24). False prophets and spiritual charlatans will arise and many will be adversely influenced (1 Tim 4:1,2). We need to stand fast and hold on tenaciously to sound doctrines and biblical practices as we wait and work while the Lord tarries (Titus 2:13-14). As good soldiers of Christ, let us put on the full armour of God to withstand diabolical temptations and testings as Paul said in 1 Tim 6:11Ė12, "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."

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