(The Message) Galatians 19-21What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.
Here we are. Lowly Christians. Thinking we are something great, or worse, thinking we are supposed to be something great. I am a wretch! I am nothing! I am dust! Oh, God remind me of that daily. You are sovereign. You are HOLY! You are the all seeing, all knowing, all powerful, almighty GOD! Why do I presume to know anything, to see anything, to have control at all?
I plead with you God, come down! Come down and wash away this apathetic nature rooted so deeply in me. Wash away the disgusting garment of complacency that I wear. Come down and eliminate my need for the approval of men! The need for the gratitude of friends. The need for their praise and admiration over my love for you!
Grace us with a "called out-ness" like never before Lord. Father fill us with a need to separate ourselves from this world system. Father break us of our old ways, our old attitudes. Father make us so like you that Jesus is the only one we're even close to resembling. Abba, daddy I am lost in a sea of sin and I've known you and I miss you. I miss your presence Lord, so much that I'm crying right now to feel it again. I miss the beauty of your awesome love filling every word of my mouth. Abba! Abba! WE NEED YOU!
Because these are the last days. These are the last of the last days. The end has been near for 2,000 years and just as Art Katz said, if the disciples lived as though the end was immanent then HOW MUCH MORE should we?
We are on the cusp of needing every verse we've memorized, on the brink of needing every bill paid in full, on the edge of detaching from this world system in order to survive.
I admit I sound absolutely crazy right now. I think this is quite silly. But listen, what else is going to motivate you? What else is going to motivate me? Nothing but the immanence of God's kingdom. IT'S AT HAND! Jesus preached that everywhere. And we are to repeat this cry. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, repent and be saved!
Therfore, we are to live as though we are crucified with Christ. It is entirely necessary in the day we are in. Our lives are not our own and yet we live like they are. God is gracious to bless us with prosperity, jobs, houses, cars, but we need to be faithful to live for His Kingdom, not our own. With our actions, decisions and lives, not just our thoughts, words, and hearts.
The internal cry is LIFE ABUNDANT (John 10:10) eternal life (John 3:16) because to live is Christ and to die is gain. That internal cry needs to become an external action that moves us, that forces us to be a called out people. TO BE A CHURCH! With all our might! With all our strength, with all our earthly wealth.
What does this look like?
Practically speaking: make new decisions. Consider what you have now, what things aren't necessary? What can be removed? What can be changed quickly? What can be changed over 5 years? Getting out of debt? Moving to a smaller house? Selling some of your junk or luxeries?
Also, what should you be doing to prepare? Memorize scripture! So fill your heart with God's word that it sustains you when your bible is illegal.
All of this is very radical talk but I don't think it's too radical as to not be practical. I'm not saying the end is in 1 year, or even 10. But wouldn't it be nice to be prepared? God is motivating his people.
We are the instruments of his song on this earth. The tools of his harvest in this world. Let us not be dull or out of tune, but FULLY READY to proclaim, shout, and magnify the cry coming from the Holy Spirit now. Repent and be baptized for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!