011315 – The Purpose Of The Church, “Equip The Saints”

The purpose of the Church can be found in Ephesians 4:11-12:

Ephesians 4:11-12 New English Translation (NET Bible)

11 It was he who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ,

For our congregation, our reason for being a church of Christ, is found in the words, “to equip the saints.” We are intentional in being like the Bereans, as is found written in Acts 17:10-11:

Acts 17:10-11 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Paul and Silas at Berea

10 The brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Berea at once, during the night. When they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so.

The Jews in Berea listened attentively to the preaching and teaching of Paul and Silas. Still, the scriptures (“Old Testament;” there was no New Testament, yet.) were checked to verify the accuracy and truth of the things that were being told to them.

Jesus spoke very clearly to the Jews about world conditions that are beginning to look very much like the ones that are present in our world today, as the following scripture shows.

Matthew 24:9 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Persecution of Disciples

9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of my name.

Jews and Christians are the objects of the forces who are led by Satan and his enablers. Consider the words that the Apostle John wrote about the times that will take place during the time of tribulation that was also discussed by Jesus, Jeremiah, and Daniel, as well as by the Apostle John.

Revelation 16:13-16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Armageddon

13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) 16 And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.

The Battle Of Armageddon takes place prior to the second coming of Christ, to stand on the Mount of Olives. The event is spoken about by the prophet Zechariah, as follows.

Zechariah 14:1-5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God Will Battle Jerusalem’s Foes

1 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4 In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.5 You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!

(Note: in the last sentence, “the holy ones with Him,” are those of all times who have been born again. They are returning to the earth with Jesus after they had been “caught up” in the rapture, as was written in 1 Thes 4:16-17.)

Revelation 19:11-21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Coming of Christ

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”
19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

Doom of the Beast and False Prophet

20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

This spiritual battle, The Battle Of Armageddon, which takes place at the end of the tribulation, is quickly won by Jesus over the forces of Satan.

Revelation 20:1-3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Satan Bound

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

Peace comes upon the earth for a period of 1,000 years, which is known as the millennial reign of Christ, or the millennium. Still, Satan will plan another attack on God’s people, which will take place during the Battle of Gog and Magog, as follows.

Revelation 20:7-10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Satan Freed, Doomed

7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

The priest and prophet Ezekiel discusses the events that lead up to the Battle of Gog and Magog, which takes place at the end of the millennium, as follows.

Ezekiel 38:10-12 New English Translation (NET Bible)

10 “‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil plan. 11 You will say, “I will invade a land of unwalled towns; I will advance against those living quietly in security—all of them living without walls and barred gates— 12 to loot and plunder, to attack the inhabited ruins and the people gathered from the nations, who are acquiring cattle and goods, who live at the center of the earth.”

The forces of Satan devise an evil plan to attack and destroy the nation of Israel. This particular setting is at the end of the millennium, just preceding the Battle of Gog and Magog. The forces of Satan have been trying to divide and conquer God’s people ever since he devised a scheme to deceive, divide and destroy Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, as follows.

Genesis 3:1 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Fall of Man

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

No one knows when the times that have been discussed in this post will take place. But, at this point in our time in history, world conditions are very consistent with those that lead to the Battle of Armageddon. The born again people of God will not be present during that spiritual battle, but time could place us within three and half years of its onset. We have got to get serious about our study of God’s Holy Word. We need to be aware of the things that are taking place in the world that make Christians and Jews the targets of the forces of Satan. We must not be like the frog in the sauce pan that was simmered to death, because it wouldn’t remove itself from the water beneath it, that became hotter and hotter, and eventually killed the frog. Our congregation is very intentional in its attempt to study the prophecies of God’s Holy Word, that tell of the end times. We meet on Saturdays, which allows members of other congregations to study with us, and share the things that they have learned with their home churches.

The following video produces good food for thought in its discussion of the end times.

Now, let’s enter into a time of worship of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

We Glorify The Lamb
Terry MacAlmon

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