Although it is only during the past four years that I became a Christian and accepted our Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour, as I read my Bible and Pray, every day, I find myself drawing ever closer to our Heavenly Father and experiencing an ever-deepening relationship with Him.
In my reborn life, I always put God first and am obedient to His will. And it is through His grace and mercy that He gave me a Healing Miracle when I lay in my bed ‘dying’.
Before I was saved I was a serial sinner – but our Father God, in His loving and infinite wisdom, showed me that He had forgiven all my past sins and misdeeds and that now was the time when I could start afresh!
Living a sinless life is far from easy, there are temptations lurking around every corner and Satan is always trying to distract me by offering me the opportunity to do things that would be displeasing to God.
But with the guidance and protection of our Father God I tell Satan that he must leave me alone; that I am not interested in anything that he tries to offer me, and that he must stop trying to interfere in my life.
Whenever I face challenging decisions in my life, where choices are involved, if I ask the one question, “What would Jesus do?”, the answer is usually plain and simple.
When God created our world, the seventh day – the Sabbath – He intended it to be a day of rest. And for thousands of years the Sabbath Day – Sunday – was a day when no work was done.
It was, in my humble view, a great mistake and an error of judgement by those who approved the change in the law, for Sunday to become just another day in the week.
Satan must be jumping up and down with joy and happiness when he sees how much the Church is declining because people are being seduced away from the church because there are now so many leisure activities for people to attend that take them away from God.
Sadly, many traditional church-goers are being pressurised by their non-Christian friends and family to go out with them on Sundays, taking the children to Amusement Parks, Football Matches etc.etc.
And these ‘Christians’ are too weak to stand up for their beliefs and still attend their church regardless of the demands of their family and friends, who long ago have forsaken the Lord our God.
When I was a child, my parents insisted that I went to Church every Sunday morning, and my Sunday School was always full because other parents also insisted that my friends should go to Sunday School.
I was not allowed to go out to play with my friends on Sundays and my parents never went anywhere on a Sunday, except, of course, to Church.
But, as I grew up, away from the influence and control of my parents, I became a backslider and indeed continued to be a backslider until Jesus saved me four years ago.
Perhaps the style of worship needs to change to encourage younger people to go to church? Many of the churches I have visited these past four years consist mainly of elderly people, who have been members of their church for many years; they are very happy and content to worship in their own cocooned comfort zone!
From my visionary standpoint, the main problem is that many of the church services are lifeless and (please forgive me, Lord) DULL. It is thus easy to see why young people fail to be attracted to the Church.
I have seen videos of church services in America where the young people take a prominent part, often through music. Music can prove very uplifting to the soul – and young people love charismatic hymns and tunes that are a very long way from anything written by Charles Wesley.
Churches here in the UK need to wake up and alter their modus operandi to meet the needs and expectations of the 21st Century generation of young people!
My wife, Marlene, and I now attend The Christian Centre in Ebbw Vale. The Christian Centre is an Apostolic Church with an ever-growing congregation, with a higher percentage of young people than many churches today.
It is a vibrant church. Every Sunday there are Worship and Praise Services and the singing is breath-taking. The anointing is very POWERFUL.
Where is the church (all churches) heading? Personally, I would love the old Biblical Teachings to manifest themselves into our 21st Century lives.
But times they-are-a-changing and with the ever-present internet (especially Facebook) we are now living in a world of which Moses could never have dreamt!
Here are some signs that the church is asleep:
- The absence of conviction of sin
- A lack of the fear of God
- Little sense of outrage over the godlessness of society
- Watching pornography and feeling justified
- Avarice, greed and lack of financial integrity
- No sense of outrage over the Church’s lack of credibility in the world
- Little or no concern about people going to hell
- Little concern about the lack of knowledge of God’s word
- Indifference to the biblical view of marriage
- Indifference to holding grudges and unforgiveness
- Indifference to talking to people about Christ
- Tolerating heresies such as open theism and hyper-grace teaching
- Indifference to the teaching that the Bible is infallible
- Indifference to how much time is spent in prayer and quiet time
When I was saved, and gave my heart to Jesus I thought that all Christians frequently read the Bible and prayed, at least once, every day.
But it didn’t take me long to discover the truth – that the average Christian doesn’t pick up, or look at, a Bible from one Sunday to the next.
Can we honestly say that we are ready for the Second Coming of Christ?
AW Tozer wrote that if the Holy Spirit were completely withdrawn from the Church, “95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference”.
Tozer is undoubtedly correct. Only a very few churches that I have attended since being saved have had the presence of the Holy Spirit. Very few Ministers and Lay Preachers ever refer to the Holy Spirit in their sermons and my impression is that very few members of their congregations know what the Holy Spirit does and can do for them.
Many Biblical Scholars believe that the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13) is eschatological – referring to the last days. I am sure that God meant this parable to be prophetic.
This parable refers to the customs of the Jews, when celebrating a marriage. The bridegroom used to go in the evening to fetch home his bride by the light of oil lamps. These were carried by bridesmaids (the ‘virgins’), which could be as many as ten, and when they arrived at the bride’s house, there was a feast awaiting them.
Christ is the bridegroom of the church and those who are of the true faith are the companions of the bride, and they are patiently awaiting the arrival of Christ.
However, this does not refer to all Christians; some Christians cannot be included because they have strayed from the Lord’s pathway and are only lukewarm and synthetic Christians.
Of the ten bridesmaids/virgins mentioned “five were wise, and five were foolish”.
The foolish virgins had lamps, but no oil in their vessels to replenish them with: that is, they had enough religious knowledge to make a plausible appearance but their hearts were not truly sanctified and stored with holy affections and dispositions by the newly creating Spirit of God.
But the wise virgins already had oil in their lamps as well as a firm foundation in the Word of God.
In Matthew 25: 5 Jesus is saying that because the bridegroom took some time in coming, both the wise virgins and the foolish virgins fell asleep.
The five wise virgins, who have extra oil, represent those who are ready for that which is going to come; they are preparing themselves with great enthusiasm and excitement for the Second Coming and the return of Christ.
They not only have faith in Christ but they trust him implicitly and they are determined to wait patiently, for as long as they need, for Christ to return.
The five wise virgins have real grace in their hearts and who are, notwithstanding occasional lapses through sleepiness, in habitual readiness to meet Christ, either in death or in judgement, and they shall graciously be permitted to have eternal fellowship with Christ in His heavenly kingdom.
But the five foolish virgins represent false believers, who profess to know Gospel truths but they are more concerned about their worldly wealth and enjoying themselves rather than any deep desire to see the bridegroom (Jesus).
Their hope is that because they are associated with true Christians this will be enough to bring them into the Kingdom of God at the End Days.
The foolish virgins, when awakened through death or judgement, will soon discover that all their false truths will come to nothing and that their pleas for salvation will be too late and that they themselves will be permanently excluded from fellowship with Christ.
For in Matthew 25: 11-12 it is written: –
11 Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
And in Matthew 7: 21-23 we read: –
21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name, have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
This parable dynamically demonstrates the wisdom and profound effect of being ready and the devastating effect that will take place if one is unready and unprepared,
The five wise virgins, being ready, were admitted to the marriage feast, but the door was then immediately shut; and the five foolish virgins, coming afterwards, were denied admission and disowned by the bridegroom, as persons with whom He had no acquaintance.
Are you prepared for His Second Coming?
Will you be invited to the Lord’s Table?
AmenThe Ten Virgins from the Self-Interpreting Bible published in 1778
With many peaceful blessings