This program aired on KIUN 1400 AM in Pecos, TX on May 25, 2016.
At the end of the book of Revelation, the Lord said, “Yes, I am coming quickly,” to which John replied, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20). Anyone who has read the scriptures understands that the Lord may return at any time. Most of us, however, tend to overlook, or ignore, His statement that He is coming quickly. Fewer still of us, it seems, think about, or pray, as John did, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
Why is this the case? There may be many reasons why we do not utter these words in prayer, not all of which are motivated by unholy concerns. Obviously the wicked are not anxious for the Lord to return, but even godly people, being human, don’t know what the other side of life is like. Therefore, we’re not generally anxious to get there. We know the world, and we know life on earth. So we want to cling to it as long as possible, whether it is because of our fear of death, or of our uncertainty about the Lord’s return.
This reality aside, though, there are at least three reasons for us to pray every day for the Lord to come. In the first place, when the Lord comes again, He will deal out retribution to the wicked (2 Th. 1:7-8). One of the most difficult aspects of life on earth is the fact that justice is not always meted out on the wicked. In too many cases, it seems as though the bad guys are winning, and this makes life much harder. However, when the Lord returns, justice will be rendered to the wicked. This is something many psalmists prayed for in ancient times, and it will happen when the Lord returns.
Secondly, when the Lord comes the godly will receive relief from all the suffering that they have endured here on earth. 2 Th. 1:7 promises that the Lord “will give relief to you who are afflicted,” even as He deals out retribution to the wicked. We are also promised that when the godly are taken into heaven, the Father Himself “will wipe every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). This is also an important reason for us to pray for the Lord to come quickly.
Third, when the Lord comes the righteous will be taken into the heavenly realm, where the Lord has been preparing a place for them to reside for eternity. This is the promise that Jesus made to His disciples on the night of His betrayal (Jn. 14:1-3), and it is the promise that each and every Christian has from Him. In 1 Pet. 1:3-4 Peter blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, because we have been born again in order to receive an inheritance that is “imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” For this reason we should pray for the Lord to come, so we may quickly reach our final reward.
We live in troubling times. There is so much evil in the world. There is so much opposition to our Lord and to His word. In so many instances, it appears that the wicked are winning, and we may wonder about the promises of God in which we have placed our hope. The scriptures declare that God is faithful, who will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear, but will provide a way of escape so we may endure it (1 Cor. 10:13). “He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9), and His desire is for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4).
Our faithful Father in heaven hears our prayers and responds to our needs in every way, in accordance with His divine will. If we pray for our Lord to come, God the Father will respond to that prayer as well. Therefore, let us earnestly pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
There is no question that Peter was one of the foremost among the apostles. When the gospel was proclaimed on the first Pentecost after the Lord’s resurrection, Peter was the chief spokesman. His words are the ones we read in the record of this event in Acts 2. He was also the first to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles. In addition to this, he is the primary character in the first half of the book of Acts. This prominence in the record of the early church as led some to give Peter special status in the history of the church.
The leader of a large religious body today believes himself to be the direct descendant of Peter as the head of the church on earth. This man is accorded special honor and reverence by members of this body, and is addressed in terms that signify his exalted status. It is customary to see even high-ranking officials of this church bowing before him and kissing his ring of office. He is called “The Vicar of Christ”, and is considered to be above all others in this church.
While it is claimed that Peter is the origination point for this office, Peter’s life belies that claim. In Acts 10:25-26 when Peter entered the home of the Gentile Cornelius, the scripture says, “When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am just a man.'” The last words in this statement are powerful. Peter refused to accept Cornelius’ worship and declared that he was just a man. In other words, it was not appropriate for Cornelius to worship him, or for Peter to accept such worship.
This, of course, is a fundamental truth of scripture. We are not to worship any man, no matter how great, or important, or dear to us he may be. Jesus declared this truth during His temptation by Satan. When Satan offered to give the Lord all the kingdoms of the world if He would fall down and worship him, the Lord replied, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'”
This same truth was declared when John received the revelation from the Lord on the island of Patmos. Twice during this revelation an angel spoke directly to John. Both times John fell down at the angel’s feet to worship him, and both times the angel told John not to do that. In both cases the angel said, “Worship God” (Rev. 19:9-10; 22:8-9). Angels are important beings as special messengers of God. But it is clear that not even they are to be worshiped.
If angelic beings will not accept worship, then how much less so should humans? Peter was indeed one of the greatest of the apostles, but by his own admission he was just a man. Who among us today can claim to be anything more? In point of fact, we cannot. Peter could not accept worship, no matter how innocently or sincerely it was offered. This is something reserved only for deity.
The veneration that Roman Catholics offer to the Pope is perhaps the most extreme example of humans accepting worship, but it is not the only example. Many religious people accord special status to their preachers, addressing them as “reverend”. While they may suggest that this is a term of respect rather than of worship, the fact is that this word is reserved in scripture only for God. In Psa. 111:9 in the King James Version, the scripture says of God, “Holy and reverend is His name.” No apostle, not even Peter, used such a title, or accepted the use of such a title to refer to himself. They were just men. They were servants of God, and were unworthy of such veneration. So it must be still today. Even the greatest among us is just a man. Therefore, worship God and serve Him only.
We sometimes sing a song that begins with these words: “One step at a time, dear Savior; I cannot take any more; the flesh is so weak and hopeless; I know not what is before.” Each stanza of this hymn reflects the human dilemma of walking by faith. We cannot see the future, and often cannot even perceive what lies just beyond arm’s length. As the song declares, we want to reach the goal of eternal life, but we often feel that getting there is outside the realm of human capability.
This, of course, is exactly the point. The Lord does not expect us to make the journey solely by virtue of our own strength and resolve. He knows that we cannot do this alone, and He expects us to depend on Him to help us take each step on the pathway to life. The sooner we realize this truth and accept it, the easier our journey will become.
King David of Israel understood this truth and extolled it in Psa. 37:23-24. There he said, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” The imagery here is that of a father holding the hand of a child and guiding his steps. Even though the child is taking each step on his own, the father is there making sure that he safely completes each step. When the child stumbles, the father keeps him from falling on his face because he is holding the child’s hand.
David’s point was not that God will keep us from physically falling down as we walk, but rather that He holds our hand as we make our spiritual journey to heaven. When we struggle with sin, stumbling and falling, our Father lifts us up so we do not fall hopelessly into the abyss of sin. He helps us to our feet and gently leads us again in the right direction. We will suffer some scrapes and bruises in the experience, but if we are willing to keep walking with Him, our Father will continue to lead us toward our heavenly reward.
There is one important aspect to this imagery that must not be overlooked. It is the fact that we must continue to take each step along the way in order to reach the goal. The scriptures call on us to walk with God. He will not drag us against our will in the direction of heaven. He will, however, lead us by the hand as we take each faltering step that direction. In 1 Jn. 1:7 John said, “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
The inspired apostle did not say if we sit in the light the blood of Jesus will cleanse us. He said we will be cleansed if we walk in the light. This means that we must be making progress toward the goal. It doesn’t matter how swiftly or slowly we are walking. It only matters that we are walking. In 2 Cor. 5:7 Paul said that we walk by faith and not by sight. This is because we cannot yet see the goal. We believe it is there, and we believe we will reach it if we continue to walk with God.
This is why the idea of taking “one step at a time” is so important. One step at a time is within the capability of even the most fragile in the faith. One step at a time is doable. One step at a time will not tax us beyond our ability to bear it. One step at a time, in the direction of heaven, will get us there without fail. In Eph. 5:15 Paul said to be careful how we walk, not as unwise men but as wise. If we are wise, we will always walk in the direction of heaven by following God’s word. If we are wise, we will make the journey all the way to goal, one step at a time.
It is difficult to underestimate the power and influence of mothers. They give us life, and they teach us everything we need to know in order to function in life. They comfort us when we’re hurt or sick or sad, and they correct us when we go astray. They teach us what love is, and become the first object of our love. In many respects, the old adage, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” is absolutely true.
These truths are all the more important when we consider the spiritual influence mothers have. The scriptures teach that both fathers and mothers share responsibility for the spiritual development of their children (Deut. 6:4-9; Eph. 6:4), but we also know that mothers have a special influence in this regard. Their influence is typically greater than fathers’ simply because they are with us more hours in the day than our fathers are. This being so, it is vitally important that mothers be women who fear the Lord.
Solomon used this phrase to describe the worthy woman in Prov. 31. As he brought his praise of this godly woman to a close, he said, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised” (v. 30). The term “fears” in this context does not mean being terrified of God. Instead, it conveys the idea of reverence for God. This is a common Old Testament expression for one’s devotion to and respect for Almighty God. One who fears the Lord honors Him by doing His will in every circumstance.
This is an essential attitude for everyone, of course, because without this attitude, none of us would ever obey the Lord’s will. In mothers, however, this attitude, or the lack of it, is multiplied in the lives of her children. A mother who does not fear the Lord will raise children who do not fear the Lord. One such woman was Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah. In 2 Chr. 22:3, speaking of Ahaziah, the scripture says, “He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly.” How said and horrible that a mother would purposely counsel her son to do wickedly! As a result of her wickedness, her son was also wicked, and the whole nation of Judah suffered.
In contrast to Athaliah, however, are two women who truly feared the Lord. Their names are Lois and Eunice, and Paul spoke of them in 2 Tim. 1:5. Speaking to Timothy, Paul said, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” In 2 Tim. 3:15 Paul revealed how these women who feared the Lord instilled faith in Timothy. They taught him “the sacred writings” from the time he was a child.
Lois and Eunice are important examples of how mothers should conduct themselves. They did not let the fact that Timothy’s father was an unbeliever deter them in the exercise of their own faith, or in instilling faith in Timothy. They lived their faith before Timothy so he would know what it means to be a believer, and they taught him God’s word so he would know for himself what the Lord requires of His people.
This is a model that every mother who fears the Lord must follow today. The souls of our children are too precious for their spiritual development to be neglected. A mother who fears the Lord will show her reverence for God by living in accordance with His will every day. She will also do everything within her power to instill the same fear of the Lord in her children. Those who do so will be worthy of praise, just as Solomon wrote so long ago. Those who fail to do so place their souls and the souls of their children in eternal jeopardy.
May every mother be a woman who fears the Lord!