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Тема: The Angelic Conflict

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    Now it happened on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, that a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also slew the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you." While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them and slew the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you."
    While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and stuck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died; and I alone have escaped to tell you."
    (Job 1:13-19)

    Our enemy's sense of timing is almost perfect. When did satan decide to nail Job? At the time it would hurt him the most. Satan had studied Job. He no doubt had compiled a massive dossier of him, and in a file marked "Greatest Fear" he found what he wanted. Job was afraid that his children would curse God. He was especially afraid on their birthdays, when they would all get together to celebrate (Job 1:4-5; 3:25). He worried that his children would forget themselves in their merrymaking, so he was always praying and offering sacrifices during these times. So satan, knowing that the right move at the right time is worth a thousand moves at the wrong time, waits until the birthday of Job's oldest son, his firstborn. "On that day," with precision timing, satan opens his attack.

    What would Job think when all his disaster hit him on this particular day? The most logical conclusion would have been, "My children have cursed God. That is why He has taken their lives, and it is why He has hit me with all this calamity." Maybe Job would have blamed himself for not praying enough. Satan wanted all of the disaster to bring fear and guilt on Job. Every fear we nurse in our lives gives the enemy a place to work, a base from which to launch his assault. He knows what we are afraid of; he knows the things that cause us to question the goodness and the grace of God, and those are very things he will use in his attacks on us.

    When the enemy initiates an attack against us, we can be guaranteed it is going to be at the worst possible time and under the most adverse conditions. It will be when we are tired, run down, weak, and most vulnerable to temptation. Why does he always attack at times like that? Because he is a strategist. If we want to resist him, we have to understand his strategy.

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    Our enemy's sense of timing is good; his sense of chaos is even better. Here is a tranquil scene, Job doing what he always did on days like this, and all of a sudden everything with which he is familiar is shaken, and the peace and the tranquility that surrounded him are gone. In an instant. Satan always seeks to disrupt conditions of peace and calm. His rebellion brought chaos into the universe. Whereas Jesus is the Prince of Peace, satan is the king of confusion and turmoil. He hates us, and he hates for us to have inner peace because inner peace in the believer is the greatest evidence of divine power. Especially in adverse conditions, when we have peace in our souls, we drive him crazy. The best way to have historical impact in this world is not to run around trying to make a big splash in society for God. The best way is to slow down and do the one thing that troubles satan more than anything else - rest in the Lord. If we do not know how to maintain inner peace and calm, no amount of work we do will be effective.

    Everything God does in lives comes from rest. So of course satan's attacks in this area will be especially vicious. He will never attack us without trying to throw something in that will destroy peace in our soul. If guilt is all he can use, he will use guilt; if fear, fear. It takes a great deal of toughness and strength to remain poised under pressure and testing. These are qualities not natural to man. They are developed through self-discipline and hard training. We have to develop that toughness of skin and thickness of hide that allow us to absorb blow after blow after blow without losing our focus on the Prince of Peace.

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    Our enemy gets as much of a kick out of violence as he does out of simple chaos, so violence is another of his favorite tactics. He knows that even the language of violence has an amazing effect on people when they are brought face-to-face with it. Job is told, by probably hysterical survivors, that the Sabeans and the Chaldeans in separate attacks "slew the servants with the edge of the sword." The word translated "slew" refers to a violent attack; the term "edge of the sword" is a fear phrase. Especially would it arouse fear in people who thought as concretely and in as vivid word pictures as the Semitic people did. thing about the sword, the edge of the sword, about how it would cut when it was used on people; think about how these raiders hacked Job's servants to pieces, and it would be easy to start getting scared. That, of course, is what satan wants. The awful news around world chocked souls and scared people that would be all the time called - terror. Terror is the satan's work to attack all and then
    dictate his rules. Notice the phrase repeated three times between Job 1:13 and 1:22, "while he was speaking." Satan seldom sends one piece of trouble alone; he prefers to land one punch after another after another. Why? Because he understands the shock effect of multiple blows. One of the most basic principles in self-defense is that you never fire at a target only one time. Multiple rounds increase and intensify the shock effect. Finally, our enemy loves to send calamity that looks as if it were an act of God. Job's servant helps create this impression when he says that "the fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them." Thought God allowed the fire to come, this was not the fire of God. This passage indicates to us that all natural calamity is the result of creation out of balance with the Creator. We sometimes forget that the spiritual war is fought in the physical world. All these physical calamities happened to Job in the space of about 10 minutes, and it was all part of the spiritual war.

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    Peace .
    The environment of peace: Philippians 1:2
    The formula for peace: Philippians 3:13-14
    The practice of peace: Philippians 4:6-7,11-13

    Seven Disciplines Producing Peace
    For we walk by faith not by sight. (2Co 5:7)
    1. By faith learn to accept life unconditionally as God's perfect plan for you (Ro 8:28; 1Thess 3:3; 5:18).
    2. By faith live in conscious fellowship with God (1Jhn 1:7)
    3. By faith keep short accounts with God (1Co 11:23-31; 1Jhn 1:9)
    4. By faith seek the Word of God daily (Matt 4:4; 5:6; 2Pe 3:18)
    5. By faith trust in the power of prayer (James 5:16; 1Pe 5:7)
    6. By faith rest in the promises of God (2Pe 1:4; Heb 6:17-20)
    7. By faith see eternal purpose in life's trials (2Co 4:16-18).
    The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in Thee (Isa 26:3)

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    10 Principles of Warfare
    1. Objective (Luke 19:10; Phil 3:8-10). Why are we fighting and what it is we are supposed to win?
    We are fighting in the cause for which Jesus Christ came to earth - to seek and to save that which is lost.
    To do this, we have to know Jesus Christ and His power and share His sufferings.
    2. Offensive (Phil 3:12-14). To attain the objective we must be constantly advancing, we must, like Paul,
    "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call off God in Christ Jesus" (Phil 3:14).
    3. Concentration (Phil 3:13). "Concentration" refers to the massing of forces for decisive action.
    All our energy, all our concentration, all our thought has to be focused on Jesus Christ (Heb 3:1).
    We must narrow down our lives until we can say with Paul, "one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind
    and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on ..." (Phil 3:13).
    4. Economy of forces (Zech 4:6,10). "Economy of forces" is the skillful and wise use of what is available.
    As Christians we have to learn never to expend more in power or energy than is needed for the task.
    That means we learn how not to wrestle but always to rest in faith, knowing that God delights in bringing
    victory through small and insignificant things.
    5. Mobility (Eph 4-5). We must be flexible, able to move with speed and ease. The Christian life is a walk
    in newness of life (Ro 6:4), a walk by faith (2Co 5:7) and by the Spirit (Gal 5:16), a walk in love
    (Eph 5:2) and in light (1Jhn 1:7).
    6. Cooperation (Eph 4:3,13). Refusal to cooperate in wartime is a crime; we call it treason. All believers are
    one in Christ, and we are expected to cooperate and to function as a single army in the unity of the Spirit
    and the unity of the faith.
    7. Security (Jude 21). Everywhere missiles are flying, grenades are popping, bullets are whizzing past.
    For us there is one - and only one - safe place: in the love of God.
    8. Surprise (Job 1:21). When Job fell down and worshiped God, when David sauntered out with a
    slingshot to take on Goliath, when we respond to pain and trouble in faith, the enemy is caught off-guard
    and blasted by the power of God.
    9. Communication (1Thess 5:17; 2Ti 2:15). If we do not stay in constant touch with headquarters, how
    will we know where we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to be doing?
    We need to study the Word and to pray every day.
    10. Pursuit (1Co 9:22-23). If we want to win, we must every day be in active pursuit of the enemy with a
    view toward total defeat. Paul pursued excellence in service so that he might see men won to Jesus Christ.

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    Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and
    he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said,
    "Naked I came from my mother's womb,
    And naked I shall return there.
    The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
    Blessed be the name of the Lord."
    Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God
    . (Job 1:20-22)

    Job's sorrow and grief are beyond measure. He rises and tears his robe as a symbol of a broken heart. His soul has been ripped in two, but his response to all the sorrow is to bow before the Almighty God and worship. His pain is encompassed by his faith, and so Job does not give satan the victory he desires. The enemy wants one of God's own children to say "Why me? Why did God let this happen to me? How could a loving God allow this suffering?" Satan is no different today in dealing with us. He still wants to malign the character of God through the mouths of God's own children.

    Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present
    themselves before the Lord, and satan also came among them
    to present himself before the Lord.
    And the Lord said to satan, "Where have you come form?"
    Then satan answered the Lord and said, "From roaming
    about on the earth, and walking around on it."
    And the Lord said to satan, "Have you considered my
    servant Job. For there is no one like him on the earth, a
    blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away
    from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you
    incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause."
    And satan answered the Lord and said, "Skin for skin!
    Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put
    forth Thy hand, now and touch his bone and his flesh; he will
    curse Thee to Thy face
    ." (Job 2:1-6)

    Again there is satan struts in, though perhaps with less lilt in the face of Job's response to his attack. Again God asks him where he has been and again satan tells Him, "around." Then God asks the one question the enemy surely does not want to hear: "Have you considered My servant Job?" When God says that Job holds fast his "integrity," the Hebrew word is tummah. It means "simplicity, singleness of purpose, innocence." Job's integrity is his refusal to blame God for the things that have happened to him. He holds his integrity even though, God says, "you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause." The phrase "without cause" tells us something - there was no sin involved in Job's suffering. He was not suffering because of discipline.

    Satan's answer o God's question is an accusation; he charges Job with selfishness. One of the most compassionate, gracious, thoughtful men in history is accused by satan of being selfish and self-centered. In his response, satan is saying to God: "Sure Job hasn't cursed You yet. You can steal his flocks, You can destroy his wealth, You can strike his servants and kill his family, and he is so selfish and so self-absorbed that it does not even touch him. He doesn't even feel any grief over his family. He just sits there and says, 'Everything's fine.' But You touch his body, make him hurt, and he will curse You for sure."

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    This is the third of five times that we see satan's goal in afflicting Job (Job 1:5,11; 2:3,5,10). Because he so maliciously despises God, satan feels vindicated when he can move any believer to malign Gods' character. We are in the middle of the conflict. When God allows into our lives any pressure, difficulty, adversity - minor or major - and we accept it without complaint, acknowledging that God knows what He is doing, then He receives honor and glory. But when in testing we accuse God of being unjust or unrighteous or unloving, then satan struts and chuckles before the presence of the Lord. Any time we say, or think, "What is happening to me is not fair," we become a witness for satan. Any time we ask the question, "How can a loving God allow this?" implying of course that God is not loving, we are following the line of the devil. Satan is the author of that statement.

    God is never the source of evil. Notice in Job 2:6 that God says to satan, "He is in your power." That was not what satan asked for. Satan asked for God to touch Job's bone and his flesh. He wanted God personally to strip Job of his health. God would not do it. "He is in your power," He said. "You want it done to him? You do it." Satan may be allowed to get through our protection, but he will never get beyond God's limitation. In Job's case God set the limit when He commanded satan to spare his life. God is always able to say to the enemy, "This far and no further." And when God allows more trouble or persecution in our lives than we think we can stand, we have to remember that the extent of the severity of our testing is a measure of the extent of honor and glory it can bring to Jesus Christ throughout all eternity.

    No Truce
    We must understand that there is no truce in the invisible war. There will never be a moment from the instant we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ until we go to be with Him that the enemy is not on the offensive. We are active participants in the battle whether we like it or not.

    Every day billions of battles are fought in this war, fought by believers on every continent of what we call the kosmos diabolicus, the devil's world. Every day each of us faces the issue of whether we will glorify God or gratify self. This is always at the heart of the struggle in the angelic conflict. Every day we have the chance to win either eternal glory for the Lord or temporary gratification for ourselves.

    Jesus said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow after" (Mark 8:34). Taking up the cross means that we identify the plan and purpose of God for our life, dedicate ourselves to it, and never quit. This demands a tremendous amount of self-denial.

    We have to keep in mind always that the path from the cross to the crown is an upward path. That is why Paul uses in Philippians 3:14 the words "press on." The Greek dioko means "to pursue, to search for, to seek, to set as a priority." We have to set our priority and press on from the saving grace of the cross to the living grace of day-to-day life, to the super-grace of spiritual maturity. Always we keep pressing on, always growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. and as we do, we will come to understand that the provisions of grace, the assets of grace are greater than we ever imagined. But only one thing will force us to see this, and that is greater need.

    Therefore, we have to learn to live one day at a time. We have to live our lives the way a marathon runner runs his race. If the runner thinks of all the miles stretched out ahead of him, he will be inclined to give up-especially if he remembers the pain of the last race. So he starts the race thinking a mile at a time. But after a while he stops clicking off the miles and starts thinking in terms of half-miles, then quarter-miles, then yards, until he reaches the point where all he can think about is putting one foot in front of the other.

    In the Christian life, we start out in a burst of energy, running for all we are worth. Then somewhere along the line we realize that this is a marathon and we had better slow down and dig in for the long haul. Isaiah 40:31 talks about those who "wait" on the Lord. He uses qawah, the strongest Hebrew word for faith. The first thing the do is "mount up with wings as eagles," then they run and do not get tired, and eventually they walk and do not become weary.

    As we mature, we learn to pace ourselves. We learn to deal with our adversities a day at a time. We know that grace is sufficient moment by moment, and so we learn to go through crisis, tragedy, and difficulty one day at a time. We learn to deal with our areas of weakness, our frailties, and our temptations one day at a time. We do not ask ourselves, "How will I deal with this the rest of my life?" We ask, "Can I make it through this day?"

    At night, with success behind us, we lay ourselves down, commit that day to eternity, and rest. We have won glory for the Lord Jesus Christ. And the next day it starts all over again. We will have days when we bring honor to Christ, and we will have days when we do not. We will have times when we struggle to sustain honor and integrity for just five more minutes, and we will make it, and maybe at the end of those five minutes we will fall flat on our face. But as Jeremiah reminds us in Lamentations 3:22-23, every time we see the sun come up we know that God's mercy has been renewed and restored for that day. We know there will be tests and trials and difficulties that day, but there will also be great joys and blessings. And we keep on keeping on because we know who it is we believe and why it is we fight.


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    Then satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and smote
    Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
    And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among
    the ashes.
    Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity?
    Curse God and die!" But he said to her, "You speak as one of the
    foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and
    not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

    (Job 2:7-10)
    The suffering and agony of Job at this point are terrible. He is covered with boils from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. He is in intense pain, and there is no way to alleviate it. The itching is unbearable, and so he takes a potsherd, part of a broken clay pot, to scrape himself as he sits in the ashes. Later, in Job 7:5 we are told that his boils develop two by-products: worms and scabs. In Job 30:17 and 30 we learn that he has severe fever and tremendous aching in this bones.
    At this point Job's wife joins the enemy. Satan had wanted this woman left alive; he has plans for her, and she falls right in with them. She becomes cynical and better and vindictive, and she blames God. She tells her husband he would be better off dead, and we can imagine that she does not say this just once. She likely says it - or at least shows it on her face - every time she walks past the ash heap where Job suffers in silence.
    Job's response to his wife shows what a mild man he is. In these verses we glimpse an ancient family fight, centered around tremendous tragedy. There has been death in the family, banditry, warfare, robbery, loss of wealth, and - at least on her part - loss of perspective. When Job tells her she speaks as a "foolish woman," he uses the Hebrew nebalah, which means "to fade, to wither." It is a word for falling away, for reversion; he is saying. "You are speaking like a reversionistic woman."
    Then he asks her a question: Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" When he asks this, he is illustrating three very important doctrinal principles.
    1. The believer who only wants blessing is weak and immature.
    2. The believer who gripes and complains in adversity does not understand either God or His plan.
    3. The believer who falls apart under pressure does not understand the war conflict between evil and good. That kind of believer had not the hope on power of God.
    The war that Job was involved in stretched from the ashes he sat in to the throne room of God, but his battle was won in the soul. Through all his calamity and pain, "Job did not sin with his lips." But what came or did not come out of his lips was only a manifestation of what had already happened in his heart. Job won the battle because of his thoughts; he chose to believe God.
    Faith was the victory.

    All human history boils down to individual, personal decisions. The conflict between evil and good is being resolved not in the heaven, not in the cosmic sphere, but in the souls of individual men and women. Every day billions and billions of battles are fought in the minds of men over the plan of God. And every time any person chooses to take his thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, satan loses another round.

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    1. Jesus Christ controls history.
    If Jesus Christ controls history, then there are crises in life, but there are no tragedies and no innocent victims (Ro 8:28; Eph 1:11; Col 1:17; Re 22:12-13).
    2. Every person has an allotment of time and trouble.
    God has allotted to each of us a certain amount of time and in that time He has allotted a certain amount of suffering, adversity, and crisis. But He has also provided for deliverance in each and every one of our problems (Ex 4; Job 5:7; Pss 34:19,37)
    3. Crisis always involves controlled testing.
    Satan may get through the barriers or the hedges God puts around us, but he never gets beyond the divine limitation (Ge 22:1-19; Job 1-2; 1Co 10:13)
    4. Every crisis forces us to make decisions.
    One of the reasons God allows pressure and crisis in our lives is to show us what we are inside. Crisis fores us to make decisions and in every decision we face the option of choosing good or evil.
    5. Every future decision involves elements of past decisions.
    Decisions made by David (1Sa 23; 2Sa 2,4,11-18) and Paul (2Co 1:1-12; 2Co 4:8-15; 6,11) illustrate this point. Every good choice we make opens the door in the future for greater choices; every wrong choice hinders and limits future options. Today we make our decisions; tomorrow our decisions make us. If we consistently make bad decisions, we will begin to callous our soils and destroy spiritual sensitivity.
    6. There are two will that affect every crisis.
    The sovereign will of God and the changeable will of man are at work in every crisis (Deaut 8:1-20; 11:26-28; Jer 18:5-12; Eze 18:20-29). Before history began, God saw every option we would ever have and knew every choice we would ever make. Based on His omniscience, He made all His decisions before He created us; none of the decisions He has made are ever going to change. His decisions and His will are expressed to the extent that He has revealed them to us in His Word. Throughout the course of human history, in the exercise of human volition man has often chosen - and continues to choose - contrary to the will and Word of God. Every one of these choices has an effect on the course of history; every one brings suffering. Bad decisions always bring about human suffering because they are contrary to the plan and purpose of God.
    7. We are the product of our decisions.
    We are not the product of our environment and we are not the product of other people - unless we have chosen to be. Decisions are what make people. We all have a will from which we make decisions. Those decisions form a pattern, and from that pattern there develops a trend in our life. From the trend come habits and from the habits, character. It is the trend of our lives with which God is most concerned. Consider, for example, David. If we looked only at individual actions in David's life, er could say that he was a scoundrel, a liar, a thief. a pitiful father, an adulterer, a murderer, unfaithful. He was. David was all these things. But these were not the habitual activities of David's life. A chart of David's life would actually look something like a graph of the stock market in a good year. He would make gains and then he would father and then he would make gains and then he would falter. But always the gains were getting higher and the trend was always upward. David continued to climb higher and higher in the spiritual realm.

    (see next: 1/4 The Victory - Grace and Truth)

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    The Victory - Grace and Truth
    Job 2:11-13
    Job 19:25-26

    In all he poured out on his victim, satan could not get Job out of fellowship with God. He could not budge this man - not through loss of wealth or family or health. But the enemy always has an ace up his sleeve. As is so often the case, the enemy's aces here were believers.
    Satan sent three believers to comfort Job. They came armed with truth; they knew their doctrine. But the father of lies did not have to be afraid of the truth this time because he knew these men would not wrap it in grace.
    Satan hates grace. He has reason to. Truth is the absolute standard of God's righteousness. No man could ever attain that standard if it were not for grace. Grace is all that God can do for man because of the work of Christ on the cross. Only through grace can man have any relationship with God. What is worse, from satan's point of view, is that grace gives all the glory to God because grace can only be received - never earned or deserved.
    Jesus Christ displayed the glory of God through the fullness of grace and truth in perfect balance in His life (John 1:14). When grace, which comes from the filling of the Holy Spirit, and truth, which comes from the study of the Word, are in balance on our lives, we are empowered for service; we are effective ambassadors for Christ. When they are out of balance we are serving someone other than Christ.

    Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that
    had come upon him, the came each one from his own place,
    Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, adn Zophar the
    Naamathite; and they madean appointment together to come
    to sympathize with him and comfort him.
    And when they lifted up their eyes at a distance, and did not
    recognize him, they raised their voices and wept. And each
    of them tore his robe, and they threw dust over their heads
    toward the sky.
    Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days
    and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for
    they saw that his pain was very great.
    (Job 2:11-13)

    These three men were princes in their own right; they were very influential men. They apparently felt some sympathy and compassion for Job, and they made an appointment together to come and comfort him. They had good motives. It would have been customary for these men to sit and be silent until their host spoke. Job does not utter a word for seven days. The pain and the agony and the suffering and the anxiety in him are so intense that he is afraid to open his mouth.
    It is a good thing for us to learn to clamp out jaws, to seal our lips, because once something is said it can never be taken back. Job is having such a phenomenal battle in his soul that he is raging inside, and he is sealing his mouth lest he open it and the flood pour out. There is a lot of anger and bitterness boiling in Job, and it will eventually come out. But at this point he keeps silent.
    At the end of seven days, Job does speak. Then his friends break their silence as well, and it becomes clear that these men who have come to encourage Job have no encouragement to give. From this point forward, three of Job's friends start bombarding him with what they know and why they think this is happening to him. They cannot even agree among themselves, except in one thing - that they are right and Job is wrong. From chapter 3 until chapter 32 these men judge, accuse, and debate with Job. In all that time they utter not a word of comfort, support, encouragement, sympathy, or compassion.

    Misguided believers can do more damage with their truth than satan ever does with his lies.

    It is very easy for good motives to be distorted into evil actions. These three friends of Job's are believers; they are brilliant men who have a deep understanding of doctrine. But they are serving the purposes of satan. Attacking Job under the logic that if he is suffering it is because he has sinned, they accomplish what all the other tragedies could not accomplish. They manage to get Job out of fellowship and out of line with the plan of God.
    There is a principle to be learned here: Do not assume that just because someone is suffering, he has done something wrong. That is infantile thinking. There are more reasons for suffering given in the Bible that have nothing to do with sin than there are reasons for suffering as a result of sin.
    The disciples found this out in John 9. They were walking one day with the Lord when they looked sown and saw a man who had been born blind. Immediately a theological question occurred to them, so they asked Jesus whose sin it was that caused this blindness - was it the sin of the man or of his parents. To their minds, either the parents sinned - which caused their child to be born blind - or God knew that someday this man would commit some particularly terrible sin, so he was born blind as a kind of retroactive judgment.

    There are people who love to preoccupy themselves with theological questions but have absolutely no concerned about the implications of this man's situation, but they did not care about him as a person. To them the man was detail; but the theological question, holding the right doctrine, was what mattered. Of course to Jesus Christ, the man was all important. He was what Jesus came to die on the cross for. So at their question, the Lord turned around and told them that neither the man nor his parents had sinned to bring this on. He told them that this man's blindness had nothing whatever to do with sin; it had everything to do with the fact that this man was ordained, chosen by God in eternity past, to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ on this day through his blindness.

    Imagine being in this man's place, having been blind all your life, having prayed just to be normal, having surely asked over and over again, "Why me?" Then one day you hear the sound of footsteps coming toward you, and someone whispers in your ear, "The Son of David is coming!" First you hear the arrogant question of the disciples, and you know everyone is looking at you, wondering what terrible things you must have done to be so afflicted. And then you hear His voice and the most glorious words you have ever heard: This man was born blind to bring glory to Me. He has endured 40 years of blindness so that I could be honored." Would not those words make every pain and every indignity you ever suffered seem to be nothing at all? That is the way it was for Job.

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    There is no technique that can take the hurt out of pain. The task of faith is not to remove our pain, but to give us the strength to bear it - only in weakness can we find God's sufficiency revealed (2Co 2:16; 3:5; 12:9-10). Suffering is a part of God's plan for His children. Faith refined by fire makes Jesus Christ real to us, and until He is real to us, we cannot make Him real to anyone else. So, if we want to grow in the spiritual life, we will suffer. There is a rough parallel between the five stages of spiritual growth and five stages of suffering outlined in 1 Peter.
    1. Trial and temptation (1Pe 1:6-7). The first tests we have to master as baby believers are usually the tests of everyday trial and temptation. The question is how well can we face the mundane aggravations, the little things that go wrong, the daily irritations that are a natural result of living in the world and dealing with people. Any time we face a trial, we also face a temptation - to respond with our emotions or human reason, to fall back on human supply, to handle what is before us with anything but faith.
    2. Undeserved suffering (1Pe 2:19). The next test, faced at some point by every adolescent believer, is of how well we can stand up to undeserved suffering. Cay we endure maligning, slander, injustice, being treated wrongfully - and do it saliently, without retaliation or vindictiveness, without giving in to mental-attitude sins? In marriage, in friendships, in work relationships we will be tested in this area over and over and over again. When someone less qualified gets the promotion that we deserve, when we get blame for something we did not do, when our reputation is compromised by someone else's lies, will we defend ourselves or will we let God defend us?
    3. Suffering for the sake of righteousness (1Pe 3:14-15). Suffering for what we have not done is one thing, but suffering for the good we have done is quite another. In suffering for the sake of righteousness we may pour our heart and soul into a ministry and then be accused of false motivation. We may give ourselves to a Sunday school class for years and then because there is jealously and resentment be cut from the staff. this kind of suffering will eventually come to the mature believer whose service is starting to have an impact on his world. The question is this: Can we stay focused on Jesus Christ or will we let our pain make us bitter?
    4. Sharing Christ's sufferings (1Pe 4:12-13). Why did Christ suffer? He suffered to bring us to God; He sacrificed himself so we could have life. Sharing the suffering of Jesus Christ means that we have moved into an effective ministry where we are constantly making sacrifices and are constantly receiving attack and opposition because we are fulfilling the continuing cause of Christ - evangelizing the lost and edifying believers through encouragement. and Bible teaching. Because satan is the god of this world, the prince of the power of darkness, he is going to utilize every force at his command to stop believers from promoting Jesus Christ. He does not care if we promote ourselves; but he hates it when we make Christ the issue, when the only thing that matters to us is that when people look at us they see Jesus Christ and are motivated to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him. When this starts to happen, satan stars to feel threatened. When we get into the area of sharing the suffering of Jesus Christ, we become heroes of faith.
    5. Personal satanic attack (1Pe 5:8). If we advance far enough - and only a handful in history have - there will come a time when we will face personal satanic attack. While we realize that satan attacks all believers and tries to frustrate their growth and the plan of God in their lives, we also know that he is not omnipresent. Satan can only be in one place at a time. He has plenty of demons to assign to ordinary believers, but he saves some jobs for himself. When he walks about as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour, what kind of people does he seek out? People like Job, people like Peter, like Paul. People who begin to have personal historical impact inevitably come under satan's attack. What happens when they do? It is not a pretty sight. Job starts feeling sorry for himself under the attack of his friends; Peter denies his Lord. When the believer finds himself being sifted by satan, he will not look to great to the world, but what the world thinks will not matter because his champion is God.

    And as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last
    He will take his stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed,
    yet from my flesh I shall see God
    . (Job 19:25-26)
    Between chapter 3, where Job breaks silence by cursing the day he was born, and chapter 38, where the Lord answers Job out of the whirlwind, this man of God has his ups and downs. The proverbial "patience of Job" has been greatly exaggerated. He does get his eyes off of the Lord, and he does lose his perspective. But through everything, Job holds to his conviction that his Redeemer lives. He knows that someone must mediate between the holy God and unholy man, and he knows that whoever this is must be equal to both god and man (Job 9:32-33). He is confident that God will provide. In the meantime, he expresses his willingness to serve God no matter what. "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him" (Job 13:15).
    When God finally breaks His silence (Job 38-41), He does not say, "Now, Job, please let Me explain why these things happened the way they did." No. god says something like this: "Job, can you understand how the morning comes? Cay you call forth the dawn? Cay you separate the light and the darkness? Cay you understand how the eagle flies? Cay you explain the flight of a hawk? If you can, id you understand all these thins, then you can take My place. Or are you just going to attack Me so you can justify yourself? I have My reasons for what I do, and I do not have to tell you what they are/ So why don't you stand up like a man and accept what I allow."
    And so Job stands up and dusts himself off and admits that he does not know everything (Job 42:1-6). He decides to let God be God. Not until long after Job died did the extent of his historical impact on the world begin to be seen. God had His reasons for allowing Job's suffering.

    The Lord God Almighty, surveying all the members of the human race ... said, "Job will be the next battlefield in the invisible war. All of the forces of the enemy will be permitted to hurl themselves against this man. I will provide him with strength and sustain him in sorrow and disaster. It will be seen by men and angels and demons that spiritual life from the throne of heaven is sufficient to attract the soul. In a world where prosperity and luxury are the aims of utmost effort, where personal health and happiness is the object of most prayers, where the companionship of loved ones is the highest fellowship, I will permit the enemy to take away the flocks and the herds. I will allow his sons and daughters to die. I will suffer his body to be smitten by plague and racked with pain. I will let his wife turn from him and take the side of the enemy. I will send his friends to give him the counsel of despair. He will be brought to the natter of human desolation and yet he will sit intransigent, uncompromising, unhesitating with his eyes filled and fixed on eternal things and his mind aware of realities beyond the scope of human vision. He will understand that there is no will that can compete with the will of God. And as a result of this battle not only will he be vindicated in his steadfast resolution but also there will be comfort for thousands and thousands of souls throughout ht coming centuries and satan will be given a mouthful of dust."
    (Barnhouse, The invisible War)

    The Good Fight of Faith
    We fight a spiritual war. The more we understand the spiritual nature of this war, the easier it will be to take. Spiritual struggle is worse than any other kind of struggle. We must fight in the realm of thoughts and emotions. We are constantly assailed with conflicting information - nothing is as confusing as the spiritual realm - yet we are expected not just to stand, but to function. In this spiritual war, we have:
    *Spiritual enemies (Eph 6:12)
    *Spiritual weapons (2Co 10:4; Eph 6:17b)
    * Spiritual armor (Eph 6:11-17b)
    * Spiritual strategy (1Sa 17:47)
    * Spiritual victory (2Co 2:14)
    * Spiritual reward (2Ti 4:8)

    Why is it the good fight?
    1. It is the good fight because it is led by the most noble, the most honorable man who ever lived. It is the good fight because it is the cause of Jesus Christ.
    2. It is the good fight because its victory is the victory of the cross, where He who is perfect laid down His life as a sacrifice for imperfect men.
    3. It is the good fight because it is a battle for the souls of men.
    4. It is the good fight because it is against satan, the father of all lairs.
    5. It is the good fight because it is fought with the love of God, the most noble motive in the universe.

    (see next: 1/5 The Prospect - Rapture)

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    1/5 The Prospect - Rapture
    Acts 1:6-8
    1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
    Ephesians 5:15-17

    The war in which we fight will end one day soon. It is important for us to understand that. The study of prophecy and future things is designed to give us hope for the future and perspective for the present. If we are confused about the plan of God and how it works its way out, and about His timetable for human history, then we will be disoriented in day-to-say life. We have to maintain balance, being careful not to be so focused on the future that we lose sight of today or so distracted by today that we forget why we are here and where we are going.

    And so when they had come together, they were asking Him,
    saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom
    to Israel?"
    He said to them,
    "It is not for you to know times or epochs
    which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you
    shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
    and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all
    Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

    (Ac 1:6-8)

    This exchange took place between the resurrection and the ascension of Christ. The imperfect tense in the phrase "they were asking Him" indicates that the disciples kept asking Jesus this same question over and over again. "At this time" is literally "at this age." The word translated "age," chronos, from which we get "chronology," is one of four Greeks words for time. The disciples understand something about dispensations and they are thinking about the chronology of events. They see that the cross was followed by the burial and resurrection, and now Christ has been with them for almost 40 days, and what they are saying is this: "In light of the fact that You have gone to the cross, paid for our sins, and provided salvation, are you now - in light of that chronology - going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
    "Restore" means "to return to a former state," The disciples are referring to the Old Testament promises declaring that Messiah will establish a kingdom that will never be shaken.

    They have in mind the Davidic Covenant of 2 Samuel 7:10-16 where an eternal kingdom, an eternal throne, and an eternal posterity were promised to David. They are ready for Jesus - Who they obviously know is the promised Messiah - to overthrow the Romans and set up that kingdom on earth now.
    But there is a flaw in their thinking. The disciples have not picked up on the fact that for the last 40 days Jesus has been talking not about the "kingdom of Israel," but about the "kingdom of God" (Ac 1:3). The two are not the same.

    The Son of David had come and offered Himself to the Jews as Messiah, as their king, but they had rejected Him (Matt 23:39). The establishment of the kingdom of Israel would now be postponed, as God initiated something totally unexpected. The prophecies of Daniel had implied that there would be some sort of break in the chronology of Israel's history, that there would be a period of time between a first and second coming of Messiah (Dan 9:26). That period of time is the Church Age, during which the kingdom of God is being established.

    This kingdom, which Jesus had begun to introduce in the Upper Room Discourse, was what He had been trying to tell the disciples about since His resurrection. It is a spiritual kingdom, one that we enter the instant place faith in Jesus Christ - "as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God" (Jhn 1:12). "Therefore," Paul would late explain, "if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come" (2Co 5:17).
    In response to the disciples' questions about the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, Jesus uses the emphatic negative to tell them that it is absolutely not for them to know "the times and epochs which the Father has fixed." The word translated "fixed," tithemi, refers to something that has been set down in concrete. God has set down in concrete the plan of human history; He has fixed it by His own authority.
    God has a blueprint for history, but Jesus tells His men that they do not need to concern themselves about that right now.
    What they need to focus on is the fact that they will soon receive the power of the Holy Spirit. From Acts 2 we know that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended and took up residence in every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. A new age had begun.

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    Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no
    need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves
    know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a
    thief in the night. While they are saying, "Peace and safety!"
    then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth
    pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
    But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should
    overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and
    sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let
    us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
    For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those
    who get drunk get drunk at night.
    But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on
    the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope
    of salvation.
    For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining
    salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that
    whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with
    Him. Therefore encourage one another, and build up one
    another, just as you also are doing.
    (1Thess 5:1-11)
    In Acts 1:7 Jesus told the disciples that it was emphatically not for them to know the times and epochs that God had fixed. Twenty years later Paul, writing about the same times and epochs - the chronos and kairos, the chronology and the fixed seasons - indicates that the Thessalonian believers "know full well." The Greek oida is the word for complete, full, mature knowledge. Akribos means "with accuracy, precisely."
    Why did the disciples in Acts 1 not know and the people in Thessalonica know full well? Because in the intervening years Holy Spirit revealed to the apostle Paul the outline of God's plan for history. To Paul alone was given the full revelation of the "mystery" of the Church Age - the uniqueness of its place in the dispensations of God and the uniqueness of the divine provisions given to all Church Age believers.

    Paul is not saying that these people know exactly when the Lord is going to return - no one knows or can know the date and time. But he is reminding them that they do know the order of things.
    Notice the distinction he draws in this passage between "them" and "us." Paul draws two important distinctions in 1 Thessalonians. One is between two very different kinds of people, "them" and "us." The other is between two very different days, "the day of Christ" and "the day of the Lord."
    "The day of Christ," described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, is the Rapture of the Church. It will happen in a split-second, in the twinkling of an eye (1Co 15:51), and will be a day of blessing for all who believe. "The day of the Lord," described in 1:10 and 5:1-11 is the Tribulation. It will last seven years and will be a horrible time of wrath and judgment for those who do not believe. It is in his discussion of the day of the Lord that Paul draws the distinctions between "them" and "us." "They" will be saying, "peace and safety," and will be caught unaware by the sudden destruction that "will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs."
    Jesus described these "birth pangs" in Matthew 24 and 25. The Lord told His disciples that while they would not know the day and the hour of the things that were about to happen, they would be able to recognize the season, and were to look up and take notice when it approached. Like birth pangs, He said, the signs would increase in intensity. Wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes in many places - all these things would start out small and far apart and would get more and more intense and come closer and closer together. The "birth" is the deliverance of the children of God. Jesus will come and call His family out of this world at the Rapture. That act, on the day of Christ, will initiate the day of the Lord. That is why Paul can say that what happens to them is not going to happen to us. Sudden destruction is coming on them, and they will not escape, but it will not overtake us. We do not have to worry about it because we are not of the darkness, but of the light.

    The Day of the Lord - The Day of Christ
    "The day of the Lord" is a distinctly Old Testament phrase. It is the subject of a great deal of prophecy, as, for example, in passages like Isaiah 2:17; 13:6-9; Joel 3:1-2; Zechariah 14:1-9; and Malachi 4:1-2.
    1. The day of the Lord was a day of mystery as to when it would occur. First Peter 1:12 tells us that Old Testament prophets did a lot of searching to try and figure out when it was going to happen.
    2. The day of the Lord was a day in the future; it still is.
    3. The day of the Lord is primarily a day of judgment. Every passage indicates that this will be a most terrible time. When the day of the Lord comes it will be the darkest hour in human history.
    4. The events that relate to the day of the Lord, both in the Old Testament prophecies and in the book of Revelation, identify it as the Tribulation. We know from a multitude of Scriptures time is called the day of the Lord.
    5. The day of the Lord pictures Jesus Christ coming in vengeance. He came first as the Lamb of God; in the day of the Lord He will return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He will come with a sword in His hand to execute judgment.

    "The day of Christ" is a distinctly New Testament term found in such passages as Philippians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14.
    1. The day of Christ is day of completion for those who believe. This is the day we reach our objective.
    2. The day of Christ is a day of confirmation. We will know fully and completely when this day comes that we really have eternal life.
    2. The day of Christ is a day of confirmation. We will know fully and completely when this day comes that we really have e
    3. The day of Christ is a day when believers become blameless in Christ. We may not be blameless now, but we will be blameless forever in His presence.
    4. The day of Christ is a day of salvation and rejoicing.
    5. There will be no condemnation in the day of Christ.

    Because of all that is about to happen, we are not to sleep, but to be alert and sober. When Paul talked in 1 Thessalonians 4 about those who "sleep," he used the word koimao, which means "to recline or to take rest," to refer to the death of believers. Here he uses katheudo, which means "to be unconscious, oblivious." To sleep in this sense is to not see, or to see and not understand, what is going on all around us. This is a picture of being out of fellowship, spiritually unconscious.
    Paul does not want us to be unconscious; he wants us instead to be alert and unafraid. Knowing absolutely what is going to happen, but not knowing exactly when it will happen, should bring balance in our lives. In 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, Paul describes this balance in terms of serving and waiting. We should serve as if we only have today and wait as if we have a thousand years. We should learn to live one day at a time, giving ourselves wholly to what we do, as if this were our last day. But we should also be patient, realizing that the Rapture could come today or next year or in a hundred years.
    We are waiting for Jesus, who will deliver us from "the wrath to come." The definite article here clearly shows that Paul is talking about a particular wrath, the wrath that is described extensively in the Old Testament as the day of the Lord. This is the coming Tribulation. We do not have to fear it because we are not destined for the wrath, but for salvation ( 1Thess 5:9).
    Paul is talking about our ultimate salvation. We know that salvation takes place in three phases. The first, positional salvation, takes place at the instant we believe. We are saved from the penalty of sin and seated with Christ in the heavenly places. The second, practical salvation, is spiritual growth and takes place as we are daily saved from the power of sin. The third, ultimate salvation, takes place at death or the Rapture, when we are saved from the presence of sin forever.

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    Notes about the rapture.
    The English "rapture" comes from the Latin translation of a Greek word used only a handful of times in the New Testament.
    Harpazo means "to take by force, to snatch out of imminent danger." In the earliest Latin translations of the Bible, this word was rendered rapere; it is the root of several English words, including "rapture," which has the idea of being carried away by emotion, and "rape," which implies being seized and carried away by force.
    Harpazo is used in Acts 8:38 to describe what happened to Philip the evangelist. He had just baptized the Ethiopian eunuch,
    and when they came out of the water the Holy Spirit "snatched Philip away." Instantly Philip was gone from the desert and found
    himself in Azotus. That is what it will be like for believers in the Rapture of the Church.

    In 2 Corinthians 12:2 Paul describes in the third person something that happened to him fourteen years earlier.
    This was most likely the time when he was stoned in Lystra and dragged out of the city and left for dead (Acts 14:19-20.
    This man, Paul says, was "caught up" into "the third heaven," a Jewish designation for the abode of God. In verse 4, Paul
    identifies this place as Paradise.
    Harpazo is used again in Revelation 12:5. John's description of a woman clothed with the sun and the moon takes us back to
    Genesis 37 and the vision of Joseph. This is an illustration of the nation of Israel. The woman is about to give birth to a child,
    to Jesus Christ. The dragon - the enemy, satan - is waiting to kill the child. She gives birth and He is "caught up" to the throne of God. We call this the Resurrection, when Jesus Christ came out of the ground and was "caught up," harpazo.

    In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 Paul tells us about the resurrection of Church Age believers. He says that Jesus Christ will descend from heaven with a shout. (The content of the shout is given in Revelation 4:1: "Come up here!"). "The dead in Christ shall rise first." We know from 2 Corinthians 5:8 that the souls and the spirits of dead believers are already with the Lord because "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." the instant a believer dies, his soul and spirit go into the presence of the Lord and are there until the resurrection. The "we who are alive and remain shall be caught up (harpazo) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord."
    Paul closes his description of the Rapture of the Church with an admonition to "comfort one another with these words." The doctrine of the Rapture is designed to give us courage for life. We can endure because we know that a magnificent time is coming in human history.

    Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but
    as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are
    evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will
    of the Lord is
    . (Eph. 5:15-17)
    To introduce this exhortation Paul quotes what is probably a refrain from an ancient hymn: "Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you" (Eph 5:14). The present active imperative egeiro means "wake up and stay awake!" "Sleeper" is from the same word used in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, katheudo, "unconsciousness, oblivion." Anistemi, "awake," means "Stand up!" Paul is urging these people to get up out of the operational death of apathy and to enter into the abundant life that Jesus intends every Christian to live (John 10:10).
    As believers we are on this earth to be light and salt, to reveal the grace and truth of God to a lost and dying world. We only have so much time to do that. Paul does not want us to waste a second. The phrase "making the most of your time" is literally "redeeming the time," from exagorazo, which means "to ransom, to buy; by payment of a price to recover from the power of another." Agora was the ancient marketplace, the street market where anything could be bought and sold. It is an illustration of the cosmos, the devil's world. As Jesus redeemed us, now we are to redeem time. Why? For two reasons.

    First "because the days are evil" (Eph 5:16). The prince of darkness is in control of this marketplace. When we fail to purchase a portion of the day, we let him win. Edmund Burke put it this way: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
    Every one of us has a responsibility to fight for right, for truth. When we purchase time, we slow the advance of evil. But there is only one way to buy time, and that is god's way. All the human political activity in the world cannot stop evil like one believer living a day at a time in the filling of the Holy Spirit. One Elijah praying alone, one David hiding in a cave praising God, one Paul in chains writing letters to young churches - this is all it takes to change history.

    The second reason we are to redeem time is because the time is short; ti is running out (1Co 7:29). Each of us has only a certain number of days to live. God has allotted to us exactly the number that we need to fulfill His plan and achieve spiritual greatness. God has so designed His plan that how much time we choose to redeem has a direct bearing on our lives in both time and eternity.

    Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where
    moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
    But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither
    moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or
    steal; for where your treasure is, there will you heart be also.

    (Matt 6:19-20)
    We are commanded to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. In His last message to us, the Lord declared that He is coming quickly and that His reward is with Him, "to render to every man according to what he has done" (Rev 22:12). Clearly the Lord wants us to earn rewards, to store up treasures. How do we do that? By redeeming time. The Bible tells us that rewards are given for faithful production, as a by-product of spiritual growth and maturity (1Co 3:12-15; 9:16-27; 2Co 5:9-11; Rev 3:11). We know that the only production that counts with God is what is produced by the Holy Spirit through us. All His production comes one way: by grace, and since only faith can lay hold of grace, our rewards in heaven will be in direct proportion to our faith on earth. Faith is trusting what God has said, believing His Word.So reward is based on our adjustment to God's truth, which is just what our blessing in time is based on.
    We will receive our reward soon after the Rapture, at the Bema, the Judgment Seat of Christ (2Co 5:9-11). We know, of course, that no sins will be an issue here because all sins were judged at the cross. What will be judged here is human good. Everything we have done as believers in our own strength will be consumed by fire - every thought, every word, every deed we did apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit.
    All that will survive the fire will be what we allowed the Holy Spirit to do through us. All divine production in our lives - every thought, every word, every deed we did in the filling of the Holy Spirit will be rewarded by Jesus Christ. Second Peter 1:10-11 tells us that the abundance of our riches in heaven will reflect our spiritual growth on earth. Our recompense at the Judgment Seat of Christ will be based on how much we let God do in our lives on earth, how much we were willing to accept His grace and to pursue His plan. Those who let Him make them spiritually great in time will bear the mark of that greatness forever; they will shine forever as a reflection of the surpassing glory of the grace of God.

    When we see all our years and days and hours and minutes pass through those flames, we will understand - with the perfect clarity that we could have today by faith - that the only greatness worth pursuing in life was the greatness of greace, that the only race worth running was the race of faith, that the only fight worth fighting was the good fight, and that when it was all over, the only words worth hearing were the words of approval from the Lord Jesus Christ, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" (Matt 25:23 KJV).
    So teach us to number our days, that we may present
    - to Thee a heart of wisdom
    . (Ps 90:12)

    How to Redeem Time
    The only day we can redeem is today (Isa 49:8; Matt 6:30-33; 2Co 6:2),
    and throughout Scripture we are continually exhorted to listen go God
    today (Ex 17; Pss 90; 95; 106; 1Co 10:1-10; Heb 3).
    Every morning God lays before each of us 24 hours, 1.440 minutes, and
    gives us the opportunity to buy out as much of that time as we want to
    for eternity.
    Every minute we spend in fellowship, filled with the Spirit, belongs to
    us forever; every minute we are out of fellowship is lost.
    To buy time we have to have capital; our capital is the ATTENTION to
    God's Word.
    Everything comes to us from the Word (Matt 4:4; 2Ti 3:16), and the
    Word is the only thing we will take with us from this realm into
    eternity (Ps 90:12).
    1. Be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18)
    2. Study (Ro 12:2; 2Pe 3:18)
    3. Apply the word (Col 4:5; 1Pe 2:15)
    4. Endure/Wait (Isa 40:31; Ro 8:18; James 1:2; 1Pe 1:7; 2:19-21; 3:14-18; 4:1)
    5. Pray (Eph 6:18; Heb 13:15; James 5:13-18)
    6. Submit (Eph 5:21)
    7. Serve (1Ti 4:14; 1Co 12:7,11; 13)

    How to understand Blessing and Reward
    Five categories of blessing in time.
    1. Spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3; Col 2:10)
    2. Promotion (1Sa 2:30)
    3. blessing by association (Ps 23:5)
    4. Historical impact (Isa 53:12)
    5. Dying grace (Ps 116:15)
    Four categories of Reward in Eternity
    1. Praise (1Co 4:5)
    2. Crowns (1Co 9:24-27)
    a). the crown of righteousness for faithfulness to the Lord in life (2Ti 4:7-8)
    b). the crown of joy for faithfulness in witnessing (Phil 4:1 1 Thess 2:19)
    c). the crown of glory for faithfulness in ministry (1Pe 5:4)
    d). the crown of life for faithfulness in testing (James 1:12; Re 2:10)
    e). the incorruptible crown for self-discipline in the spiritual life (1Co 9:24)
    3. Rank and authority (Matt 25:14-23; 24:45-47; Re 2:26)
    4. Glory (Dan 12:3; Ro 8:17-18; Re 2:28).

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