Dr. C. S. Lovett’s
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
APPOINTMENT FOR JUDGMENT
I picked up the phone. “This is Fred,” a voice said.
His voice was weak. I knew he was calling from the hospital. I also knew he was fighting his third battle with cancer and things didn't look good. So I paid him a visit.
He told me, “I feel I've wasted my life. I haven't lived for Jesus as I should. I've worked to get ahead in the world, and I have hardly served the Lord at all. I've lived to make my family comfortable. I know I'm going to be standing before Him real soon and I dread what He’ll say to me.”
It hurts God to have any of His children go out of this life like that. You expect believers to be happy at the thought of leaving this life to be with Jesus. There's no way a Christian can feel great about facing the Lord if he has wasted his life living for himself, his family, or the pleasures of this world. He'd have every right to be afraid.
Our Savior knows it is hard to serve a Lord we cannot see. The old adage "Out of sight, out of mind,” holds true for the believer.
But the Lord has a way of helping us. He has given us the devil. God could destroy Satan with a single word, but He hasn't. He permits the devil to remain on the scene to afflict us. That rascal is behind practically every bit of trouble that comes our way and God allows it.
HOW GOD HELPS US
There are no accidents in the life of a Christian. Every evil and stressful thing that happens to us, God allows for our benefit. He doesn't want a single believer to go out of this life fearing to stand before Him. So He uses Satan to prod us and make us look to Him for help. You can't be an overcomer without something to overcome.
Of course, if we choose to go our own way, the Lord will let us. He won't touch our wills. We are like tea bags? That's right. Tea bags. We don't come to full strength unless we're in hot water.
Do we really pay any attention to the Bible passages which tell us that suffering and trials are normal for Christians? When we hear, for example, "It is given unto you in behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Philippians 1:29), do we take it seriously? Peter says this to troubled believers, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing had happened to you, but REJOICE inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings" (1 Peter 4:12-13).
WHAT ABOUT THE UNSAVED
The unsaved are judged only for their works. That could be a surprise. Having rejected Jesus, they are automatically condemned to hell. Their judgment is solely to determine their status in hell. John 3:18 explains their condemnation:
"Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does NOT believe, stands condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
Heaven and hell are places where people will spend eternity. What a person does with Jesus determines WHERE he will be judged and WHERE he will spend eternity. The judgment determines what life will be like for him there. Clearly the judgment creates great differences between people in eternity.
If we're all going to be judged for our works and how we have lived for Jesus in this life, that is certain to create huge differences between Christians. Those working hard to get ahead in Christ will certainly fare better than those wasting their earthly lives, living for self and family. The one who has forfeited the pleasures of this world to serve the Lord will be honored far and above those seeking only to get ahead in this life.
When I visited Fred at the hospice facility the next day, I could tell he was pondering my words. He could see where I was headed and was all set to challenge me. He saw that the differences between believers when judged by the Lord would instantly create serious gaps between them in eternity. He wasn't ready for that.
Fred asked, "But I thought all Christians were perfect in Christ! You say there will be differences in heavenly rank and closeness to Jesus in eternity?"
I replied, "Christians are perfect in Christ. That is, perfect with respect to righteousness and nature. But perfect in nature doesn't mean perfect in rank!"
Consider two light bulbs, one of 500 watts and the other 100 watts, both as perfect as the manufacturer can make them. Obviously, they are perfect in nature, yet very different in brilliance. While equal in nature, they certainly can't do the same job. They don't shine with the same intensity. Spread the range from a 5-watt bulb to a 1000-watt bulb and this truth is even more obvious.
What determines whether a Christian will shine brightly for eternity or be a dim bulb? The answer is the place he has given the Lord Jesus in this life. The Lord wants to be first in our lives. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God..." is His command. If we don't, we'll be sorry. For you see, the most awesome fact of the Christian life is the judgment seat of Christ, where "We must all appear" (2 Corinthians 5:10).
"Behold I come quickly and My reward is with Me to give every man according as his work [job and rank] shall be" (Revelation 22:12).
WHAT ABOUT OUR ATTITUDE
I'm sure the Holy Spirit will bear witness when I say the real point of the Christian life is CHANGE. There are no make-up classes on the other side of death. We enter heaven just as we are at the point of death and NEVER CHANGE
THE PLACE WE GIVE JESUS IN THIS LIFE, DETERMINES THE PLACE HE GIVES US IN THE NEXT LIFE.
If we have the right attitude, we can make dramatic changes into the likeness of Christ. Here are three steps:
1. In a crisis acknowledge that the Lord is trying to get your attention. He is forcing you to consider HIS plan for your life.
2. Assume the trial is no accident, that God allows it.
3. By faith, thank Him for the trial and ask Him for wisdom to SEE what He is trying to teach you (James 1:5).
It is the task of this article to convince you we only go around once with no second chance for changing into the likeness of Christ (Heb. 9:27). When you realize that we enter heaven just as we are at the point of death and never change, you'll ache to grow in the likeness of Jesus . . .
WHILE YOU CAN!
C. S. Lovett
Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth
SINCE YOU ASKED
Question: “Dr. Lovett, I have a question about ‘Absent from the body and present with the Lord’ (2 Cor. 5:8). My spirit tells me that something happens between our death and finding ourselves in the Lord’s presence. I know it happens in a flash, but when I think about the believers who died ages ago, enjoying the Lord all those years, it doesn’t sit right with my spirit. It seems to violate the fairness of God. Can you help me?”
Answer: You’re on the right track when you focus on the change from flesh to spirit. Man is a spirit, like God. Once out of the body, and away from time, God can shape our experience so that we sense we are meeting Him along with all the rest of the family SIMULTANEOUSLY. Time is a special creation, providing a testing ground for people with free wills. In the spirit, things work differently since there is no time involved. Therefore, we think we’re awakening from a dream, whereas no time at all has passed. It will be an amazing yet glorious experience for all of us.
DEALING WITH THE DEVIL: “This book uncovers how the devil operates, which is one of the greatest discoveries for the human race. He pretends to be us! Self-exalting itself over God and His will is the devil, who is revealed in scripture as a self-exalting spirit. And I agree with Dr. Lovett that the devil knows our thoughts because it's true to my experience. This knowledge actually liberates and simplifies the Christian walk, placing God on one side and the devil on the other. Be true to yourself? Think again, after reading this needful and revealing book.” –Online review by G. Sinclair
STRONGER CHRISTIAN: “I’m sure the Lord had a hand in choosing your books to study. I’m a much stronger Christian and stronger in my faith now than ever before. Studying your books has been the highlight of my life. I’ve been more blessed by them than by all of my college courses. Yours have so much great depth and meaning. Continue to equip Christians for action and keep on strengthening the local churches.” –B.P. from GA.
Are you prepared? THE PREPARED LIFE book is a valuable resource for you and your family that can help you be prepared to deal with today's problems and end-times events. This book is available on Amazon.com and sells for $13.99 and is also available in Kindle form for $7.99 (new lower price). Click HERE for more information.
Dr. Lovett’s best-selling book DEALING WITH THE DEVIL has been updated and revised for today’s readers. This is the 2018 edition and is available on Amazon.com and sells for $14.99. Click HERE for more information. You may check with your bookstore to see if they can order it for you.
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