Chapter 28 Warning and Encouragement

We will stand at the judgment seat of Christ, possibly sooner than we imagine. The good news is that Christ comes “without sin unto salvation” for us who look for Him. We are safe in His hand. If we would be confident at His appearing, we need to abide in Him by letting that which we heard from the beginning abide in us. We must not let ourselves be carried off as spoil or moved away from our Hope. He wants to find us rejoicing and confident at His appearing.

Furthermore, our works will be tested, and that which we built that turns out to be “wood hay and stubble” will be burned. Only the “gold, precious stones and silver” will remain, and for that we will be rewarded. Our sins are under the blood, but our works will be tested – the good ones or the bad ones. The bad ones are those that are wrought in the power of the flesh and build up a system that does not remain unto eternity. The good ones are the ones that are produced by the sowing of the good seed which bears fruit unto eternal life. We need to have an understanding of what we’re involved with and what we’re building. We do not want to be building up a false system where the word of the truth is corrupted; lovers of the word are being persecuted and rejected.

This may all seem so overwhelming. Thankfully it gets really simple at this point. We need to realize that we are lost sheep. Each of us is prone to wander and go our own way. But the Lord has borne the iniquity of us all. He is just asking us to recognize that the enemy has a system that is designed to distract and captivate us, and to get us to spend ourselves on worthless quests. Our enemy desires to get us so confused and turned around that we can’t hear the Lord’s comforting voice. He wants to get us working for men, instead of resting in the Lord.

The Lord is not interested in laying a heavy burden on us. On the contrary, His requirement is simply that we would continue to believe Him. In John 6, the disciples asked Jesus what they must do to “work the works of God.” Jesus said “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him who He has sent”. It is in the systems of men that we are encumbered with complexity and heavy burdens. We started simply believing a message, and thirsting for fellowship. Then we were brought into the systems where we found ourselves in a maze of obligations and various teachings that tossed us to and fro. What we see in the New Testament is small groups of believers gathering together. They were Believing on the Lord, and guarding the precious gospel, and celebrating His death and resurrection and what it means to us (through communion) and contributing to the needs to the saints. This was a testimony. It may sound boring and simple in contrast to all the “great and mighty works” done in Christianity. But in our grumbling we might just be like the Israelites complaining in the wilderness about only having manna. The desire for excitement, a sense of fulfillment and purpose, a sense of worth outside of the gospel of Christ can be used to bring us into many snares.

Jesus is wanting to bring our attention back to the simplicity of what we first received: The Gospel – the forgiveness of sins. And why not just receive the forgiveness for our sin of wandering, for getting lost, or for following men? We just need to come to the Lord honestly and in faith, believing that He receives us because of His blood. If we are His sheep, we will not ultimately hear the voice of a stranger. Perhaps the strangers’ voices have been louder than the Lord’s in our ears. The Lord knows how to wake us up and call us out. His interest is to bring us out of complexity and into simplicity. Even though there are many things that have been spoken of in this book, we do not even need to chase them all down (although we’re free to do so). We just need to recognize that in ourselves, we cannot sort it all out. We do not know it all, and we are easily misled. We are Sheep.

He is the Good Shepherd and has made Himself responsible for our souls. All we need to do is humble ourselves and to confess to Him that we are in need. We need a Shepherd. We can just say “Lord I confess I am like a lost sheep and I don’t know how to sort through all this mess in Christianity. But I don’t want to take part in that which displeases you. Give me an ear to hear what your Spirit is saying and to follow. Give me a heart to only want You. Give me desire for Your word and Your truth above all things. Lead me to a group of people in whom You are also working in this way.”

We’re in the final stretch, and I believe many of us will be “11th hour laborers” in the field. In the West, we are strangely discovering that Christians need to be evangelized. Maybe the Lord will graciously use us! It could be that we will have some “gold, silver and precious stone” yet!

May God bless us in our pursuit and love Jesus Christ who is the Word of God, the truth, and our very life! I pray that anyone who reads this would not be overly discouraged by its content, but strengthened to pursue the Lord, and to find others who desire the same. I pray that the Good Shepherd would lead us all into pasture where we would find fellowship and even hidden manna in a time of great famine for the Word. I pray especially that we would experience Him together with our families around our tables and that our children would grow up knowing the Lord. And of course, I pray that the Lord comes soon!

David Benjamin

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