Discern the Times

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Today is just a few days away from the end of year 2020 which was full of odds and happenings. This year, as we've experienced, there's been a huge catastrophe in human society due to the pandemic Corona crisis. It was a miserable reality that countless people had to be trapped inside the house, feeling the horror of death and the fear of life. This is a phenomenon of the end of humanity that no one could ever imagine. But solving these Corona problems doesn't end the turmoil we're going to experience. Rather, this is just the beginning time of Tribulation that mankind will experience in the future.

So we need to be able to discern the end times we're going through. But there are many who cannot distinguish the day of His coming back, even though it is just around the corner. They say that they live a faithful life, but they still live in a lukewarm manner without being able to discern the times. It's life from now on that matters no matter what how we've lived up to this moment. Therefore, through today's words, Apostle Paul teaches us in detail how we should distinguish the generations and prepare for it. In the name of Jesus, I sincerely wish that all beloved saints will be able to live in a way that counts down the end times by ending their lives well in 2020.

First, it's time to wake up from the sleep. It's hard to tell the time while people are sleeping. When we sleep, we can't fully discern what happened by becoming an unconscious world of losing consciousness. One day I was so tired that I took a nap and woke up around dinner time. At that moment, I remember thinking that I was late for the early morning prayer meeting, so I hurriedly packed up my clothes and wanted to go to church. I mistook 6 pm for 6 am as it was not easy to tell the time for me because I was sleeping. As such, we can see that we will lose our spiritual discernment if we don't wake up from our spiritual sleep.

In verse 11 of the text, Apostle Paul says, "And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed." Here we can hear a warning that it's already time to wake up from the sleep. If anyone is still in a spiritual sleep, he should take it seriously. This means that as time flies, the timetable for salvation has moved forward faster than when we first believed in Jesus.

For those who have not achieved salvation, it should be heard as a warning that there is not much time left. Please remember the words of 2 Corinthians 6:2, "For he says, in the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." This means wake up from your spiritual sleep and come to salvation now. Please say Amen, if you believe that you should wake up immediately and come to salvation without further delay in bed.

There are times when we rest in our lives, but we have to work when it's time to work. There won't be anything ugly that looks like you're idling away from your bed even though it's time to work. In Chapter 12 of Luke, there is a lesson about a foolish servant. The servant slows down, so he eats and drinks as he thought the master will come late but the master come unexpected time and punish him severely. If anyone lives in idle and cannot discern the times like this servant, he will be severely condemned by the Lord, the master of life. Therefore, those who believe in should be able to bear this lesson in mind. We have to hear the warning message of not thinking the Lord, our bridegroom, will come slowly and not be drunken in spiritual sleep.

Now is the time for us to wake up from our spiritual sleep, expecting the Lord to come again. If others are still working in sweat and one is still drunk, it is shameful not only for the Lord but also for those around him. As the Lord said that he works because father God has worked so far, now we should be able to work from a spiritual sleep. As we can see around, there are many crops wait for harvest, but there is a lack of workers to harvest with sickle. We must remember that we have a terrible reproach from the Lord if we neglect the mission of the evangelist by drunken in spiritual sleep. The more spiritual those who believe in Jesus fall into sleep, the farther away their relationship with the Lord. If anyone still can't wake up from your bed even it's time to wake up, he can't escape reproach like a foolish servant. Remember that such a man cannot be greeted like the five foolish virgins when the Lord, the bridegroom, visits him.

Second, it's time to get rid of the work of darkness. The work of darkness is the image of living with the world under the control of the world. It includes distrust that does not rely on God and all things that do not obey His words. If we look back at our lives, we will see the fact that we are bound by sin at many times and live a shameful life.

Paul teaches us in verse 12 of the text, "The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." Among the things we do, there are things to do at night and things to do during the day time. Especially during the night people tend to do the work of darkness as they do not see it. But if you do this in broad daylight, it's going to be revealed clearly. Apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:7, "For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night." It's a shame not only for God but also for people if one still do what he is supposed to do at night even though it's daytime.

David was recognized by the Israelites as a holy king and used greatly by God. But one moment he committed an indelible darkness in his life. One day David committed an unforgettable sin as he looked down from the roof of the palace and saw a beautiful woman. At that time, while Israel was at war with Ammon, David brought her to the palace and slept with her. He remained in the palace by doing the work of darkness at a time when he had to wake up and fight a war. As a result, God's wrath was on his family, and the Bible records that David's behavior was evil in the eyes of the Lord. Please remember that even those who love and serve God can face a tragedy in life in a moment if he does not get rid of such darkness.

In Genesis, there are two angels visiting Sodom where Lot lived. They were the messengers of God who came to destroy the city. Lot was blessed with the hospitality to the two angels, and he and his two daughters escaped there and went to Zoar to be saved as the angel said. But Lot's wife looked back and became a pillar of salt, thinking about the property and material she had left behind in Sodom. His sons-in-law also took the angel's warning as a joke and turned into a handful of ashes in the rain of the sulfur. But if you look at it quietly, there are still many people around us who follow the work of darkness these days. They are enjoying the work of darkness like the Sodom and Gomorrah without paying attention to the message of the gospel for salvation.

In that sense, people of faith should be able to take off the work of darkness by discerning the times. Verse 13 of the text teaches believers by citing specific examples of how to get out of the darkness. "Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy." In short, it is a warning not to live according to the temptation of the world by living according to the world. The orgies or drunkenness is the sin that comes while eating, drinking, and enjoying, sexual immorality or debauchery is a sexual crime committed through the physical body, and dissension and jealousy are the sins committed in interpersonal relationships. After all, all of these things belong to darkness which is enough to be judged by God. It is important to remember that life in darkness follows the lust of the flesh as an enemy of God, and that the end of this life is death. Therefore, I sincerely pray in the name of Jesus that all beloved saints will be able to boldly shed their darkness through spiritual discernment with awakened faith.

Third, it's time to dress up with Christ. People tend to act according to what they wear. If one wears clean clothes, he pay more attention to his behavior as if he does not want to make clothes dirty. A man in a gentlemen suit cannot act like a man in a sportswear. One high school used various methods to lead the poor behaving students and one time the students were asked to come to school in a gentlemen's suit for six months. At the beginning stage, the students who always came to school dressed in work clothes or shabby clothes complained of inconvenience, but their attitudes began to change as they got used to it little by little. Above all, their attitude toward studying has greatly changed and their grades also have improved.

I sometimes hear what it's like, what it's like to live in the world. Accordingly, he is like a pastor, he is like a teacher, he is like a soldier as I hear. This means that they are wearing clothes that suit themselves by looking like they belong to their position. Likewise, those who believe in Jesus can live accordingly by wearing the clothes of Christ. Even those who do not believe in Jesus can recognize them as disciples of Jesus when they wear the clothes of Christ. In other words, if we dress as Christ, we can achieve the life of a Christian and be recognized as a disciple of the Lord. Therefore, remember that Paul urged in verse 14 of the text, "Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature."

By the way, 'clothing' means "to think or act like that person." Therefore, the saint dressed as Christ means living like him while thinking and acting like him. They remain spiritually combined with Christ. It means a state that cannot be divided no matter how hard you try as shown in the example of the vine and branch in John Chapter 15. English word of 'abiding' is used, and it refers to a relationship that can no longer be separated. This means that believers are in a complete spiritual union with Christ who was resurrected from death. Therefore, say Amen if you believe that a man dressed in Christ's clothing can enjoy the power and authority in him.

As you can see in Chapter 3 of the Book of Revelation, the Lord said to the Church of Laodicea, "and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness." Then why did he tell them to wear white clothes when there are many expensive clothes? This fact is even not understandable considering the characteristics of Laodicean city. At that time, Laodicea was known as a fashionable city where expensive black sheep hair was produced. Nevertheless, I wonder why the Lord encouraged them to buy and wear white clothes. In conclusion, the clothing that the saints will wear in the future is not the fancy ones that they enjoyed in the world. Believe that the clothes they will wear will be clean clothes that Jesus paid for his blood and clean ones which is not tainted in the world.

In that sense, each beloved saint should be able to proudly go out to the world in the clothes that the Lord allows. We have to deal with the mission of going to war on the increasingly intense spiritual battlefield. We must be armed with the clothing of the Lord so that we can overcome the evil world in this war. To wear Christ's clothes means to rely on his power and authority and now is the time to change into his clothes. We should be able to attach the badge of faith and love and be armed with a helmet of salvation and hope. Like this, we can overcome the volatile world and beat ourselves when we dress in Christ. Dressing in Christ will make a change that is appropriate for Christians even if it is not a fancy dress that belongs to the world. When Paul realized this, he said in Gal. 3:27, "for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."

Say Amen all beloved saints if you believe that those who serve Jesus as a Savior and Master will live a decent life by wearing the clothes of Christians. 

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