I believe we are living in the last days. I believe we are living in the end times. I feel the burden, the pressure of the last days upon us. We don't have a lot of time, we have to do our part. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
So in view of the pressure of the end time, the urgency of the hour, what do we need most in these last days?
There are many things we can talk about; we need more labourers for the harvest, more prayer, we can say the most urgent need is the Word of God. There is a famine of the Word of God for genuine preaching and teaching. Or we could say we need The Spirit. And we could say that each one has its urgent role.
But as I read my Bible this week, I noticed Jesus saying,
“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
I believe the most urgent need in these last days is faith. Faith in God. Faith to live now and please God. Faith to enter the promised land. The same problem that gripped the nation of Israel will grip spiritual Israel before Christ returns.
Let's have a look at this problem:
“So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’ So they said to one another, ‘Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.’
“Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
“But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: ‘The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, “a land which flows with milk and honey.” Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.’
“And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.
“Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they’” (Numbers 14:1-12).
“But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it” (Numbers 14:24).
Like Joshua and Caleb, the other Israelites followed the Lord's calling out from Egypt; but unlike Joshua and Caleb, they did not follow Him into the land flowing with milk and honey.
Many Christians will repeat this same tragedy.
Will we learn?
They have followed the Lord as He led them out of the spiritual death of sin and guilt. They are baptised and forgiven of their sins. They are “out of Egypt.” They have a new life in Christ. However, they do not follow by faith into abundance of life. They do not follow the Lord in humble dependence for transformation, for fruitfulness, for a life of spiritual victory. And the end result is unrepentant wilful sin, hardening of the heart, spiritual death and apostasy. They do not follow the Lord on “into the promised land.” And so, as Peter says, “the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (2 Peter 2).
Two and a half million people came out of Egypt, but only two got into Canaan. That is held as a warning to us by three different writers: Paul, Jude and the author of Hebrews. All of them say many left Egypt but only a few got into Canaan. And Christians today need to take heed and remember this warning!
A personal challenge
This morning I would like to ask you;
- Do you have a spirit like Caleb?
- Are you following The Lord fully or is your walk full of compromise?
- Do you keep the commandments of God or are you as worldly as the world?
- Do you watch things that you shouldn't watch?
- Do you laugh about the things that God hates?
- Do you wear clothing that is sensual?
- Do you love the music of the world?
- Do you lie?
- Do you gossip?
- Do you drink and get drunk?
Stop It! Stop It!
“You cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons."
Repent and turn from your ways!
If you are compromising now, you will not enter the promise land, you will not endure to the end. The pressure of the coming tribulation will swallow you up. The pressure of tribulation will figure large in the apostatising of many lukewarm believers.
We need to be fighting the good fight of faith. We need to be living a life of trust and obedience, building a faith that will endure and make our calling and election sure. We need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). We need to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1).
As Jesus said, “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” “For many are called but few are chosen.” “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Jesus said, when He returns, will He really find faith on the earth?
- Who here will be believing?
- Is there anyone here believing now?
- What is your faith like?
The works of God
Here is one of the most incredible statements in the Bible.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father (John 14:12).
Jesus is saying that if we believe in Him, we too will do the same works that He did. But more than that, even greater works—because He has gone to His Father. He says, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14). Here is a promise that the Lord will honour the spoken word of His servants by the power of His Holy Spirit.
- Who believes this statement?
- Who believes this promise?
Reach out in faith
We need to get out of our intellect, out of our planning, out of our ability, out of our resources, out of our finances and somehow reach out with faith. And make contact with God and see the miraculous work of God come to pass in the last days. The urgent need of the hour is faith in Almighty God. Faith in the power of God. That God can do what His Word says. What we need is faith.
- Will somebody have faith?
- Will somebody take The Lord at His Word?
- Will there be faith?
We need faith
Faith is the key to release labourers into the harvest. Faith is the key to bring financial blessing and supply. Faith is the key to proclaim the Word of God boldly. Faith is the key to pray and see the miraculous work of God normal in our midst.
The connecting link to all these needs is faith.
If you study the book of Luke, you find there are pressures from society. Jesus mentions how we would be persecuted for His names sake (Luke 6). We don't see any physical persecution in Australia at this time. But there is social pressure, there is ridicule, there is social exclusion. And Jesus talked about how one of our problems would be a desire for acceptance; for everyone to speak well of us. That tends to inhibit faith.
Jesus talked about the temptations that will come through the cares, riches and pleasures of this world (Luke 8) causing many to compromise their walk with The Lord. This strangle’s one’s faith in God; it chokes the seed of faith in our heart.
So why don't we see more of the miraculous work of God, why don't we see more of what God has in mind? Because of these pressures, because of compromise. Because there is a lack of faith.
We need to be completely committed to serving the Lord with an upright heart. We need to submit to God's will and be wholeheartedly devoted in our relationship to Him. We do not compromise or deviate from His standards, but walk only in His path with obedience. We hear only God's voice and we do not yield to or permit any deviation from His Word.
- This is the faith that is pleasing to God.
- This is the faith that believes that God could do what He says He could do.
- This is the faith that can see prayers answered.
- This is the faith that can see the miraculous power of God.
- This is the faith that will see you through to the end.
Beloved, when labouring for The Lord, it's not about strategy, it's not about planning, it's not about ability. Although all of that has some role to play. But at some point, we must have a miracle! And the only way to receive a miracle is by faith!
When the Lord starts moving we need to recognise it. When the Lord wants to do something we have to claim our promise. We just have to pray the prayer of faith.
What we need is faith in God. What we need most in these last days is faith.
- Who believes Jesus' words?
- Who will stand up and say, “I believe, I will see the miraculous power of God in our midst”?
- Who will stand up and say, “I will have faith for my city, I will have faith for my church”?
- Who will have faith when Jesus returns?
- Who will be faithful until death to receive the crown of life?