Quick. What is the most valuable thing you can think of? Gold? Diamonds? Rubies? How about property somewhere in Manhattan? I would concur that each hold great value. but Jesus asked the most probing question of all pertaining to worth and value. He asked, “What would a man give in exchange for his soul?” The fact is that the soul is the most valuable thing in this world. Not land or jewels; not money or precious metals. All of those things will one day fade from view, but the soul of mankind will exist forever. If we are truthful in our answer to this critical question, then our reply must be that nothing is worth that exchange. The rapture will happen and I submit that we are very close to that moment. So to strive to keep your life free from sin and ready for heaven is the greatest quest of all. Partial participation in God and in church is the same as complete disassociation. Consider I Peter 4:18 “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?” This subject of salvation is no trivial matter. It’s not a passing conversation. It demands attention and rightly so. Nothing in this life is worth missing the rapture. Nothing rises above hearing the last trump of God and being caught away as the Bride of Christ.
Not for us only, but we are keenly aware of the lost souls of our community. We reach for every sinner. We seek for every wounded and hurting heart to find these altars of repentance and restoration. The Lord’s Great Commission is our common mission because we value their eternal existence as well as our own.
No one can afford to forfeit that moment which Paul called “the catching away” for any amount of pleasure or worldly pursuits. Our careers which seem so important today will soon be nothing juxtaposed against eternity. Our hobbies which consume our days will be cast aside as fading flowers in that moment when the Lord returns. In fact, everything you see today or this week will have no value at all when He splits the eastern sky.
I once believed that the church held to the rapture, but I am concerned how many are making massive investments in things that are temporal at best. It seems we have moved away from preparing ourselves as Jesus taught in His parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Christians seem out of focus with the Cause of Christ; the subject of salvation; and that inevitable moment which is called “that Great and Terrible Day of the Lord.” Financial ambitions might be acceptable in the right context, but even the loftiest of goals pale in the face of the never-dying soul.
Educational pursuits, vacations, home purchases, and all things noble cannot match The Value of Forever. Surely we are not trading our soul for these things.
I wonder if we have been enchanted by the pleasures of this world so much that we have fallen asleep in the Light. I wonder if routine; the busyness of the day; and the cares of this life have overwhelmed so that we no longer think about Heaven and Hell. I’m not talking about sinful things, just life. Paul writes to lay aside every sin and weight that so easily besets us. Weight and sin are two different things, but they both lead us to the same place: Away from God. Sin is non-negotiable. It’s being separate from a holy God, but weight is more obscure. It not only binds us, but it constrains our pursuit of Christ. Weight is more easily negotiated. We make excuses for our weights, but not a few have succumb to the seduction of permissible pursuits without ever realizing their affects: A diminishing prayer life, Bible time, and distance from the altar. We must return to living a sober life, looking for His appearing, and preparing ourselves for the day when our souls shall be counted. It will happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
John 12:21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
It was a great feast which hosted a large number of people. These feasts might be considered festivals with visitors coming from surrounding cities. Attractions and readily available merchandise lined the narrow, cobblestoned streets, but of all the things accessible, the Greeks sought out Jesus. “We would see Jesus.” Philip went to Andrew, who in turn took action. These traveling Greeks bypassed the celebration and festivities. They seemed uninterested in the temporal times afforded them. They just wanted to see the Lord. This is the desire of the lost soul. Whether they are aware or not; whether they can consciously make that statement or not, they are desperate to see Him! Yet the only Jesus they are going to see is us. Yes, we are the image of Christ on the earth. We are the ones to whom He gave the commission. We are His hands, His feet, His mouth. If the world is going to see Jesus today, they will see Him through the people called by His name.
The burden on the church is at an all time high. Never has the darkness overshadowed the world like it is today. Our society is morally bankrupt; spiritually adrift; and emotionally damaged. While religion has grown, the Word has faded. Christianity must become full of Christians again. Spirit filled and Spirit-led churches must function under the integrity of the Word so that the Spirit can move. When the light grows strong enough, lost souls will make their way toward it, but if the church lives like the world, there will be no reason for the lost to seek out this great salvation. We want to see Jesus, but more than that, we want to live in His image so the world can see Him too.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? NIV
Romans 8:8-9 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
I could not escape Paul’s admonition to the churches in both Corinth and Rome. It seems that his message was more universal than specific to one particular region. The matter included people who considered themselves Christians, but also wanted to live according to the desires of their flesh. They wanted a portion of the world and a portion of the Spirit. Paul said that the flesh cannot please God, meaning that no one can have a little of both. It’s either “All In” for the Cause of Christ or a diluted faith littered with fleshy intent and excuses for worldly pleasures. Paul wrote these words almost 2,000 years ago, but he could have been speaking to our generation this very day. The fact is that most church goers do not want to examine themselves. They would rather rest on their intent instead of their obedience. Yet I rise to say that this cannot be. We must be dedicated to the work of the Church and the Word with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength. Riding the fence is just as bad as being totally lost. No one will barely make it to heaven. I remind you of the scripture: 1 Peter 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Our salvation is no trivial matter. We must be totally and completely sold out to Worship, the Word; the church and every Spiritual endeavor. No talent or gift can lay buried or unused. It’s all or nothing. We must Walk after the Spirit!
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
Psalm 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
It’s a small passage of scripture that often captivates my thoughts. In most cases I begin with the end in mind, i.e., the result based on the premise, but in this case the psalmist puts the Lord in His place. The Lord is where? “on my side.” It is His location to me that provokes faith and not fear. It’s where He is that makes all the difference. He is beside me and that fact alone changes the setting and scene.
Yet how easy it is for us to forget the intention of our God? We struggle with doubt and bewilderment simply because we believe that we are all alone. When we forget where He is; when we are distracted by some circumstance in our life, that is when we are set at odds with the truth. He said that He would never leave us. He will never forsake us. It’s only when we fail to see our place in Christ that we lean toward worry and fear.
How often have I stumbled in the face of men only to run back to the knowledge of this truth. The presence of the Lord is enough to sustain me. It’s more than enough to thwart the attacks of the enemy. This is not to say that harm is impossible. David is not saying that accusations and slander will not come. He certainly did not imply that we are free from the pressing of people or tribulation. These things were experienced by the saints throughout the ages. There were persecutions and pains to be sure, but in light of our faith and in the reality of our will, man can do nothing. God is on our side! The physical world cannot steal our faith or our hope without our permission. The natural realm cannot dismantle our doctrine or destroy our worship. No one can take your praise unless you let them. The Lord is our Protector, Keeper, High Tower, Refuge, and Strength. The Lord is on our side.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole