The Great Test

First in a Series
John J. Blanchard
January 16, 2016

Good morning everyone!  If you like to title your sermons, I have titled this one The Great Test.

At this juncture in history, the world finds itself facing an array of very complex problems.  You don’t have to read too many newspapers or watch the news for very long before you realize the world is confronting a lot of severe problems right now, and they seem to defy solution.  No matter what people come up with, it doesn’t seem to work.  That’s because it is a tangled web.  It is like a spider’s web that has us caught in it.

Each issue we are facing has dire consequences, and it is all coming at the same time.  I am just going to give you a partial list.  We have societal break down issues and terrorism and radical Islam.  It is a clash of civilizations.  It can be Islam versus the West, and it can also be some rogue Communist nations facing the West.  Each of those poses potential serious dire consequences for all of mankind.

We also have rapid technological change.  People can’t keep up with it.  I know I certainly can’t.  It is moving at such a pace that it is very stressful for the people.  People have to change jobs and careers many times in their lives in order to keep up.  We are bombarded with constant technological change.  Some of it really has dire consequences.  We are not going to talk specifically about them today, but they are there.

There are global health issues.  Here in the United States we are facing a health crisis like none other because it is a financial one as well as a disease epidemic.  People are getting diabetes and cancers in record numbers, but also our health care system is breaking down.  We can’t afford to take care of all these people, and it potentially has some dire financial consequences and health consequences for our country.

Around the world there are other health issues like Ebola.  It seems to be popping up again.  The other day another lady has come down with it in West Africa.  There are all these scary things to do with disease.

Then, of course, you have the worldwide issue of climate change.  Whether you believe it’s man inspired or man caused or not, it is still a real issue.  A small island nation in the South Pacific, Mauritius, is now 18 inches above sea level.  Within 40 or 50 years their country is going to disappear.  If you lived there, that would be serious.  There are a lot of coastal areas in the world that are facing more and more storms and floods.  We see it all the time.  Whether it is man caused or not, it doesn’t matter.  It is a big issue, and it is a frightening one for a lot of people.

Then we have potential economic and financial collapse.  Following the stock market this week, since the first of the year it has gone nowhere but south.  People are scared.  They are scared about their income stream.  They are scared about their retirement.  They are scared about what’s going to happen with world trade.  I could go on and on because you could add into the mix drug issues, local wars, regional wars, persecution on various peoples and cultures around the world, migration and immigration, pollution, and of course an unending stream of natural disasters.  All these things are making people very, very nervous.  It’s bewildering, and it is overwhelming.  The world leaders wonder what to do, and the people look to the world leaders to solve these things.  I think we all know inside they can’t.  It is getting beyond what human beings can fix.  It is as if the world is facing some sort of huge climax here, and indeed it is.  Many people on earth believe we are in the last days, so their stomach knots up in fear, and there is a sense of doom and gloom that pervades everything.

My goal over the next few weeks and months is to address one major issue after another and to try to demonstrate that God has solutions for all of these things.  God knew this was going to happen.  God has the strength and the power to take care of it, but He wants human cooperation.

GOD KNOWS HOW THIS WILL END

God has known from the beginning where this would all end up.  This isn’t surprising to Him.  None of it is surprising to Him.  Let’s turn to our first Scripture Isaiah chapter 47.  We are going to read verses 8-10.

Isaiah 47, verse 8:  “Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures, who dwell securely, who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, nor shall I know the loss of children’; but these two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day:  the loss of children, and widowhood. They shall come upon you in their fullness because of the multitude of your sorceries, for the great abundance of your enchantments.”

God goes on to say in verse 10 that there would be a lot of wickedness toward the end of time.  He wrote this thousands of years ago for us.  I am reading chapter 47.  I am sorry.  I meant to read chapter 46.  It worked in really beautifully! I will go now and read chapter 46 where God is having to tell us who is in charge with all this wickedness that is going on.

Isaiah 46, verse 8:  “Remember this, and show yourselves men; recall to mind, O you transgressors.  Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’…”

God says, I was there from the beginning.  I know the beginning from the end, and I know it is going to get bad!  It is going to get bad, so it’s not a shock to Him.

Let’s go to the Book of Revelation chapter 1.  Christ says this in Revelation 1, verse 8:  “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”

Christ says, I am the Beginning, and I am the End.  Actually we could go on to study that whole issue and find out that He has no beginning and no end.  He is eternal.  But He knows the beginning of mankind’s situation, and He knows how it is all going to play out.  Nothing that we are facing today has shocked God.  He knew it was coming.  Let’s move over a page to Revelation 3:10 where He is talking about the Church era that just preceded us—the Christians who are alive just before the time that we are in now.

Revelation 3, verse 10:  “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

God wrote this 2,000 years ago when He gave these words to John.  He said, I am the Alpha and the Omega. He said I know there is a time of trial and testing to come upon the whole world.  Then verse 11 gives us a time sequence, so we can place where this happens.

Revelation 3, verse 11:  “Behold, I am coming quickly!  Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”

What Christ is saying here is just before I return, I know there is going to be a huge trial to come upon the world.  It will be a huge test to try all of mankind.  He was not surprised that we are in the situation we are in.  We may be surprised.  We may be shocked.  We may be bewildered, but God is not.

The interesting thing is that God is not going to fix this by fiat by some huge miracle, where He is going to make all of our problems go away.  He is also not going to let us destroy the earth and then do some miraculous healing of the earth after we are all dead or almost all dead.  He has a very carefully thought out plan of how He is going to deal with these problems at the end of the age and help mankind get through it.  We can read that in Titus.  God thought about this way ahead of time.

Go to Titus chapter 1, verse 1:  “Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior…”

Paul is saying God thought of all of these things, including the salvation of mankind and what is going to happen at the end of the age.  He thought about it before time began.  That’s because He is the Being behind the big bang!  He is the Being who created everything that we see out there, so He is not going to create something and set the works in motion not knowing how it is going to play out at the end.  He figured out that all ahead of time.  We need to have confidence that He is on our side and He wants to deliver us from the mess that we find ourselves in at the end of the age.

CONVERSION IS COOPERATION WITH GOD

What’s interesting is that He wants mankind to be part of the solution and to work with Him.  Mankind can’t absolve himself of his own sins, so Christ took care of that.  He died for our sins.  As far as all these things that we are doing to each other and the situation we find ourselves in, we have a lot to do with that.  God wants to see what we are going to do with Him to fix it. In other words, conversion—becoming a true Christian in the sense of the word that Jesus Christ was, involves cooperation between Him and people.  We have to cooperate with Him.

Let’s go to Revelation chapter 7 because we find something here that is taking place at the end of the age.  I think we are on the verge of seeing this happen.   Keep in mind the Book of Revelation is entirely prophetic, especially from the time it was written.  Many of these prophecies have come to pass, but here is one we are looking forward to in the very near future.

Revelation chapter 7, beginning in verse 9:  “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”

This is an innumerable multitude of people.  It’s billions from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people who have been converted and washed their lives in the blood of Jesus Christ.  They now have within them the potential for eternal life!  Their sins have been forgiven.

Continue in verse 11 of Revelation 7:  “All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying:  ‘Amen!  Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’  Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’  And I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’”

A MULTITUDE WILL PASS THE TEST

Let’s pause there for a minute.  This innumerable multitude of people have come through the great tribulation and have been converted.  Their robes have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.  They are forgiven.  That means they are survivors!  They did not die in some nuclear exchange.  They did not die when an asteroid hit the earth.  They are still there, and they praised God.

Let’s continue in verse 15 of Revelation 7:  “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple.  And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

All the sadness that they experienced in life God says, it’s over now!  The tribulation is done.  You have come through a difficult life, which is true of every human being who has ever lived.  Now He says it is over.  The suffering is done, and we are on to the next stage in My plan, which is a beautiful future.  We call it the Millennium.  It will be a thousand years of peace on this earth.

This tribulation—this test—is the worldwide test, and these people have passed it!  They have survived the test.  We need to understand what is this test?  So many people are terrified that God, or God and Satan working in opposition, are going to crush the earth and destroy mankind.  When they watch the news, they are terribly fearful that the jig is just about up.  But we saw here that these are survivors.  We have to understand this.  How did this happen?  How did they survive, and how come they are so happy that God can be there and give them kindness, mercy, and they rejoice?  How did this happen?

TEMPTATION ON THE WHOLE WORLD

Let’s go back to Revelation chapter 3.  We read it earlier, and we will read it again.  In Revelation 3:10 remember it says:  “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”

Now I want to read that in the King James Version.  This is a case where the King James Version is more accurate.  I am reading Revelation 3:10 out of the King James Version. “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

It is an hour of temptation.  That is a very interesting word.  In that verse, the word “temptation” and “try” are virtually the same thing.  I am going to read you the Greek definitions for them.  Temptation is the Greek word peirasmos (#3986, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means putting to proof by experiment of good, experience of evil or solicitation, discipline, or adversity. It is an experiment of good versus evil.

The word “try” is peirazo (#3985, Strong’s Concordance, 1995) which means to test, endeavor, to scrutinize, to entice or to discipline in the idea of a piercing test.  In my own words now, this is a piercing test that God uses to prove us.  It’s an experiment and an experience to see if we will choose good over evil.  That’s the test.  That is why it is called temptation.

Now I want to look at a few other Scriptures in the New Testament where those same words are used.  Let’s go to I Corinthians chapter 10, verse 1, where Paul says:  “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink.  For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”

We know this is a reference to Moses leading ancient Israel out of the clutches of Pharaoh and through the Red Sea.  That was a type of modern baptism.  You could say modern baptism is more or less us facing our Red Sea, and then we have to make a choice.  Are you going to trust God and believe Him or not?

In essence, what Paul is saying here is ancient Israel went through this, and we are going through something similar.  He goes on to tell us that what happened to them from that point on was an example for us, so we don’t make the same mistakes.

I want to continue in verse 5 of I Corinthians 10:  “But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.”

If you remember, they all died of that generation except Joshua and Caleb.  They all died in the wilderness because they did not have faith.  They did not trust God.  They were disobedient.

Continuing in verse 6:  “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.”

Now he is talking about lust and sin and disobedience.

Verse 7:   “And do not become idolaters as were some of them.  As it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’  Nor let us commit sexual immortality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ [that’s the first time those words are used that we just read in Revelation], as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.  Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

How much more poignant for us at the very end of the age?  Paul is saying that was important for the people listening to him.  He is saying don’t make the same mistakes ancient Israel made!

Verse 12 of I Corinthians 10:  “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.  No temptation…”

Those are the same words we just read—peirasmos and peirazo.

Verse 13: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Temptation is obviously the temptation to sin.

All these things happened to them as examples for those upon whom the end of the age has come, and here we are truly facing the end of the end of ages.  We are told don’t make the same mistake.  We do know a huge temptation—a huge test—is going to come upon the whole world.  We need to understand what is this peirazo?  What is this enormous temptation that is going to come on the world?

It is a piercing test, an experiment between good and evil.  Let the Bible continue to define temptation.  Let’s go to the epistle of James chapter 1, verse 12:  “Blessed is the man who endures temptation…”

This is the same word.

Verse 12:  “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.  Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.  Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.”

Temptation leads to death, and we all fall for it at various times in our lives over and over.  That’s what Christ’s blood is for.  That’s where our sins are forgiven.  We have to pass a test.  In other words, are we going to try to beat the temptation by taking the way that Christ gives us to escape?  Are we going to train ourselves to overcome?  Over and over in the Book of Revelation and other places Christ tells us to overcome.

He knows we are all beset by temptation.  Hebrews tells us He was in all points tempted like us, but never sinned.  We are just regular mortal human beings, and we sin.  He gave us a way of wiping those sins out, but He wants to see our character grow.  That is passing the test.

Let’s go to I Peter 1, verse 3:  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

That’s when Christ returns.

Verse 6 of I Peter 1:  “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials [tests], that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”

A REWARD FOR PASSING THE TEST

Ultimately, by using the blood of Christ, we will have salvation, but He wants us to grow in character.  He wants us to be like Him and to grow more perfect.  That’s how we actually build a reward.  Everyone is offered salvation if they will accept Jesus Christ.  It’s who is going to work to overcome and pass the test of life, which are called fiery trials.

The tests we go through are very difficult, and that’s why it is putting to proof.  It is a form of assaying like when you assay gold, silver, copper, or a precious metal.  You have to heat it up.  It is a fiery trial.  Then the dross comes off, and you are left with a pure metal.  That’s what these tests do to our character.  We stumble, we fall, we get up, we keep going, and we overcome.  That is going through this fire of life—these trials, and developing character like God wants us to have.  That is passing the test.

We know this enormous temptation will come upon the whole world, so now let’s look at what the test is not.  From the things we just discussed, the test is not a disease.  The test is not an earthquake.  It is not a flood.  It is not a famine.  It is not a war.  It is not pestilence.  It’s none of these things because it is temptation.  Many believe that the end-time test is that the world is going to be smashed.  That’s no test.  That just leads to everybody dying.

We saw that an innumerable multitude comes through these tests, and they praise God.  They have their sins washed away, and God wipes away their tears.  Temptation is what leads us to sin, and the wages of sin is death.

SIN COMES FROM EVIL DESIRES

Let’s back up again to James to chapter 4.  Wars, famines, pestilences, and disease can be the result of us not passing our test, but they are not the test.  James 4, verse 1:  “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?”

He says, where does the war come from in the first place?  Where do these murders and terrorist acts come from?  They come from your desires that are within you.

Verse 2 of James 4:  “You lust and do not have.  You murder and covet and cannot obtain.  You fight and war.  Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.  Adulterers and adulteresses!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously’?  But He gives more grace.  Therefore He says:  ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”

It is the proud people who start wars, and the little people get crushed in them. God says have a humble spirit.  Recognize our sins and what we do wrong, and overcome them.  If we do, we will be blessed.  But the actual fighting, the wars, the crime, and the corruption come from our evil desires that are within us.  That’s the temptation, and the temptation can lead to war.  It can lead to all these terrible things we see, because it is not resisted.  It tells you this in verse 7.

Continuing in verse 7:  “Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

He says, if you want to get rid of wars, corruption, and violence and all these evil things, resist the devil.  Submit to God.

Verse 8:  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

He says, cleanse yourselves.  Submit to God.  Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to us. In this great test this innumerable multitude obviously has drawn near to God.  It is obvious.  That’s how you get the blood of the Lamb to cover your sins.  If that prophecy is written and God never makes a mistake and He thought about this before time began, it’s going to happen!  When we look at the world today, it looks like it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.  We need to have faith that it will get done.

Dropping down to verse 11 of James 4:  “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.  He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law.  But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.  There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.  Who are you to judge another?”

We are told here not to judge each other.  We all have sins.  We all have our shortcomings.  There is one Lawgiver who is capable of judging and that is Jesus Christ who knows the beginning from the end, and He gave us the law.  What are we talking about here then? Temptation to break the law is the great temptation to come upon the whole earth. The law is God’s Ten Commandments.  Transgression of the law is sin.

KEEP THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Let’s go to I John chapter 3, verse 4:  “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”

The King James Version tells us the transgression of the law is sin.  That’s what it is.  Now we have defined what sin is, and temptation is to push us toward sin.  When we cave into it, we sin.  The wages of sin is death, so we need the blood of Christ, but we are not to just keep sinning.  We are to overcome and to grow.

Let’s turn back to the gospel of Matthew chapter 19.  This is the young rich man who came to talk to Christ.  Matthew 19, verse 16:  “Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’  So He said to him, ‘Why do you call  Me good?  No one is good but One, that is, God.  But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.’”

He answers His own question.  If He is going to tell him what the commandments are and He is the only good One, Jesus Christ said it’s God.  But He said if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.

Continuing in verse18:  “He said to Him, ‘Which ones?’”

The young rich man said, which commandments?

Verse 18 continued:  “Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

He is going right down the Ten Commandments here.  It is obvious that Christ said, if you want to enter life, this is what you have to do.  Keep the commandments.  It’s not good enough just to have the blood of Christ.  We must be making an effort to keep the Ten Commandments, and when we fall short, then use the blood of Christ.  In other words, we have to cooperate.  We have something to do in this whole process.  That’s what conversion is.  It is a process of becoming better than you were, with God working in you.

Let’s go back a few pages to Matthew chapter 5, verse 17.  These are Christ’s words again.  “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets.  I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

If we want a good reward when Christ returns, we have to be making an effort to keep the commandments.  Those are the words of Jesus Christ, the author of the Ten Commandments.

Dropping down to verse 21 of Matthew 5 where He goes on to explain:  “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder [quoting one of the Ten Commandments], and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement.  And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council.  But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

He is saying it is not even good enough to not murder; I don’t want you to hate.  He goes on to talk about adultery as well.  I don’t want you to do that.  I don’t want you to do just the jot and every tittle of the law, but I want you to do the intent of the law.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  It is better than human beings would be under normal circumstances even when they are half decent as people.  It is a high standard, but He said I will help you.  I will help you with this.  When you do stumble, My blood is there for you.

Go to the gospel of John chapter 14.  He spells it out clearly here in John 14 and verse 15.  He says it flat out.  “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

Most people especially if they are Christian are going to say they love Jesus Christ.  Then He says, if you do, keep My commandments.  He could not be any straighter with it!  It is right out there for all to see.

Let’s go the epistle of I John, chapter 2.  John knew Christ very well, and he tells us here in I John 2, verse 3:  “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

If you want to know that you know Jesus Christ, he said to keep His commandments.  Then you know that you know Him.

Continuing in I John 2, verse 4:  “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.  By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.  Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning.  The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.  He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.  He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause of stumbling in him.  But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”

If there is any hatred and self-righteousness in us, we are blind.  We don’t understand what Christ is talking about.  We don’t understand what it is to walk the walk of Christ and to become more like Him.  We need to develop character like He had—becoming more perfect with each passing year.  It is tough.  It’s not easy, but it is what makes us better people.  It’s what helps us pass the test. It is literally what is going to deliver this world from the terrible catastrophe that would come if people didn’t learn this lesson.  But we see the prophecy spoken of and that there will be an innumerable multitude that passes the test.  I have full confidence this is going to work!  I don’t know exactly how God is going to do it, but I know that it is a trial and a test that will come on the world that will make people focus on their relationship with God and to repent.

Just flip over a page to I John chapter 3, verse 18 where John says:  “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.”

He says don’t just love in word.  You hear a lot of people talking about love and Jesus is love.  Everything is love.  Do something!  Love each other.  Forgive each other.  Don’t judge each other.  Overcome and grow and resist the devil, and he will flee.  Resist the temptations that lead us to sin and lead us down this path of destruction.

Before time began Jesus Christ and God the Father knew mankind would embark down the road, starting in the Garden of Eden, that would lead to the ultimate destruction of mankind unless He did something.  First He died for our sins.  Secondly, He gave us a measure to know what sin is.  We know what sin is by understanding what the Ten Commandments are.  Christ said, if you love Me, keep My commandments.  If we want to get delivered from the trials and tribulations that are on this world—the sadness that we see every day on the news—individually we must decide to love God by keeping His commandments.  This will add up to be an innumerable multitude who have decided to love God by keeping His commandments.  That will lead to loving our neighbors as ourselves.  That’s how the world gets delivered from its troubles.

Keeping God’s law is our responsibility.  Him dying for our sins was His responsibility, and He did that.  He said that is available to all of you who repent, but don’t just repent without doing anything.  Walk the walk!  Resist the devil!  Resist temptation!  I will give you a way out of every temptation and a way to beat it.  Take that way!  Train yourself to go that way.  Become converted, for conversion is a responsibility.

The first dilemma that we are going to tackle in the next study is going to be the impending financial and economic collapse.  We can all see it in the news.  We can feel it in our gut.  The world is headed down a road that is very bad.  It will lead to a terrible depression, unless enough people start walking the walk and doing something about conversion and keeping the commandments.  We will study God’s Ten Commandments, walking the walk, and learning how to love Him and our fellowman so that we can avoid, or get out of, the impending financial and economic collapse.  That will be our next subject.

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