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After the many weeks of posts calling His wayward sheep to repentance and warning of their peril in His continuing judgment without it, the Lord would have me deliver a word of encouragement to all of us His imperfect, but faithful remnant. Just because we may not in the Holy Spirit’s convicting work have a felt need for repentance from some egregious transgression, sin or iniquity, the faithful know our stuff is not perfect before the Lord. This is as the apostle Paul also honestly assesses about himself while asserting and exemplifying the determined heart of the Lord’s faithful in Philippians 3:12-16; even every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in His image!1
Indeed, our Ministry’s latest Strong Man Of God Online Rally, Return To The Lord, is a help to all Christians not just those who have strayed from Him purposely in disobedience and rebellion.2 By way of reminder, according to Webster’s Dictionary faithful is defined as “Supportive: loyal; worthy of trust or belief; consistent with fact.” This suggests faithful persons are devoted, steadfast, trustworthy and reliable. God is perfectly faithful as is His Son, Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 7:9a; Hosea 11:12; Matthew 17:1-5; Revelation 1:4-5, 3:14, 19:11-16)! God commends fallen men like Daniel and Moses who were faithful to Him, but only His Son was perfectly so (Daniel 6:1-23, 9:20-23; Hebrews 3:1-6).3
To be faithful in God’s eyes is first and foremost to love Him with obedience to His Word which like Him, is faithful (Deuteronomy 7:9b-11; Psalm 119:86a, 138)! Consistent with the forgoing, the Lord Jesus Christ charges all of His followers to display our “love” for Him by keeping His “commandments,” (John 14:15, 21-24, NKJV). There is no exception for any disciple on this; all professed disciples of Christ are to be faithful to Him in love through obedience even to the death following His example (Matthew 10:16-39, John 15:9-11; Philippians 2:5-8; Revelation 2:10, 12:11). Also, we are expected to be faithful in all of our service to the Lord (Matthew 24:45-51, 25:14-30).
As clear as the definition and biblical instruction are, many unfaithful professed Christian Americans still dishonestly insist they are faithful. Some of these, of course, are self-deluded “talkers” following their own way and calling it Christian as religionist impostors and de facto apostates (Titus 1:10-16, NKJV). The largest number of unfaithful professed Christians and most dangerous to the faithful now, and going forward because of deceit are those who obey the Lord and His Word only in some things while claiming an equal standing and reward with them He exposes, condemns and warns of His rejection in advance (Matthew 7:13-29; Luke 6:43-49; Revelation 22:12-17).4
Unfaithful professed Christians are so in an unfaithful time with wickedness of every kind and “evil men and impostors” growing “worse and worse” as foretold (2 Timothy 3:1-13, NKJV). Even so, the Lord would have His faithful be encouraged since this is not the first time in human history this state of affairs has existed. King David in Psalm 12:1-7 called on the Lord concerning the shrinkage of His faithful and was assured of His action as the unfaithful rebels in their wickedness dramatically increased.5 Truly, he closed his Psalm giving a precise report of our times when he wrote: “The wicked prowl on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men,” (Psalm 12:8, NKJV).
The priests and people of the returned from Babylon Jewish exiles were giving up on serving God to join the unfaithful because it seemed to them His actions to check the wicked were non-existent since they were calling “the proud blessed,” watching the evildoers do their thing and “even tempt God” without consequence (Malachi 3:13-15, NKJV). Many professed Christians feel the same way today and are walking away from the faith. However, the faithful, “those who fear the LORD and who mediate on His name,” encourage one another in the knowledge of their God whose ear is attuned to and has a “book of remembrance” written of them (Malachi 3:16, NKJV).
They knew as should every faithful Christian that God was testing all through judgment to reveal the content of their hearts and separate out the righteous for Himself (Malachi 3:17; 1 Peter 4:12-19).6 They also knew and appreciated as should every professed Christian that God’s apparent present inaction toward the wicked is His longsuffering grace and forbearance at work to save among the willing for His day of salvation, reversal and reward as He has done with us (Malachi 3:18; 2 Peter 3:1-9).7 Finally, knowing God’s perfect character the faithful remnant among the returned exiles of Israel as should faithful Christians knew God does not idly threaten, but will fulfill the day of His fiery wrath in vengeance and destroy the wicked (Psalm 58:9-11; Malachi 4:1-3; 2 Peter 3:10-18).
1 As the Lord leads, I teach aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics about His requirement of
humility He constructs in us which means we are always keeping it real about our current imperfection. You can pick up a Hard or Soft Cover Edition of my book as well as
companion Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study in the Strong Man Store, among internet booksellers and brick and
2 View the 30 minute video on our Strong Man Of God Online Rally YouTube Channel at https://youtu.be/uxU9KD4_kuY.
3 As great as Daniel and Moses were in their faithfulness to God, neither man was without sin before Him (Romans 3:23). The glory of God is perfection which not even faith-
fulness by a sinner can attain as a saving work. Only Christ came into and left the world perfect! Daniel, Moses, all other Old Testament saints and now, us under the New
Covenant are saved by grace through faith alone (Romans 3:21-31). His faithfulness is displayed and constructed in us by the Lord after being saved (Romans 8:29; Gala-
4 This latter group includes a great many pastors, elders and other leaders among the churches as well as in Christian media. A grave example of their rebellion upheld by
deceit is support for and putting women into leadership over men as pastors, teachers, worship and ministry leaders in open defiance of the Lord’s written commandments
and instructions (1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:34-40; 1 Timothy 2:8-3:16). Read my two-part post beginning September 14, 2014, Partial Obedience, under the category, Call
To Repent. Without repentance now, they will not escape God’s severe punishment!
5 See especially the opening paragraph of the June 5, 2016 post, The Day Of Vengeance, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
6 Read the two-part post beginning June 7, 2020, Days Of Separation, under the category, Bible Prophecy. Faithfulness is and will continue to be painful as some of the faith-
ful God in sovereignty will allow the wicked to martyr as in the recent mass shooting at the Nashville Christian school and some He removes from the earth through death
in various other ways before the even greater foretold evil times arrive (Psalm 116:15; Isaiah 57:1-2; Matthew 24:9-22).
7 God knows how hard it can be in an unfaithful time to discern between the righteous who are faithful to Him and the wicked professors of faith who are not from whatever
cause. This difficulty will end forever in the day of His salvation!
Seeing the images from Bible prophecy of faithful born again Christians, the saints of God Almighty in Heaven at the end of last week’s post was deeply encouraging to me and I hope you also if you are a fellow believer.1 They are victorious over the treachery and violence of the most evil man to ever walk the earth and all other haters! How God loves us and cares for our encouragement to present these images to us in advance over nineteen hundred years ago. Indeed, the images convey the tender love God has for all who believe in and follow Christ very powerfully displayed to His eleven disciples as He prepared to make His departure back to Heaven in the Gospel of John.
Under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, this episode I am permitted to title, “The Lord’s Long Goodbye,” begins at John 13:1, the apostle writing: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end,” (NKJV). From that launch point, the final Passover meal and evening together with what began as His twelve apostles proceeded with Him washing their feet and identifying Judas Iscariot as His betrayer he left to fulfill. Alone fully grasping the moment’s significance, the Lord began to declare His and the Father’s glory in it (John 13:2-32)!
Then, the Lord makes a shocking announcement saying, “‘“Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, “‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’” so now I say to you,”’” (John 13:33, NKJV.) From here there is His “new commandment” (John 13:34-35, NKJV), instruction, dialogue with the disciples and prayer to the Father that ends His long goodbye at John 17:26. All of what is said during this time hangs on and is tied to the announcement of His impending departure which is my focus in this post. As such, speaking from the heart “Simon Peter said to Him,” ‘“Lord, where are You going,’” (John 13:36a, NKJV)?
Peter’s question had all of the astonishment, emotion, disappointment, fear of loss, change and the future we all have when confronted with the sudden news someone we care deeply about is leaving for whatever reason. The Lord already knows every one of the other ten men feel the same way as Peter and answers him: ‘“Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward,’” (John 13:36b, NKJV).2 Not satisfied, Peter in all sincerity is insistent. He wants to know “why” he cannot “follow” Him “now” and asserts his willingness to die for the Lord which He rebukes; revealing Peter will in fact “deny” Him “three times” before sunrise (John 13:37-38, NKJV).
With great empathy the Lord Jesus begins to comfort the hearts of His eleven that have become deeply saddened by the announcement of His departure. First, He encourages their faith in Him to be on par with their faith in God the Father (John 14:1). Second, He assures, “In my Father’s house are many mansions” or rooms and He goes “to prepare a place for” them (John 14:2, NKJV). Preparing a place has to do with paving the way and readying the rooms where they will live with Him in the “heavenly Jerusalem” though, final fulfillment awaits the New Jerusalem constructed in Heaven and brought down on “a new earth” by God (Hebrews 12:18-24, 13:14; Revelation 21, NKJV).
Final future fulfillment in the New Jerusalem is made all the more sure by what the Lord says in John 14:3a. If He is going to go to the trouble to prepare a place for His disciples, He will “come again and receive” them to Himself (NKJV). What they did not grasp at the time was that the Lord’s departure and return had two parts. His departure from them initially would be by way of death near to being carried out by crucifixion, but He would return on the third day after through resurrection in God’s plan for their eternal redemption (John 14:15-18, 16:16-22)!3 After this initial brief, but all important departure and following instructions He gives making plain why they could not go with Him, the Lord would ascend to Heaven and the Father before their eyes then, come again (Acts 1:4-11).
Third and last, telling about the Lord’s love for His disciples in His long goodbye are the words, “that where I am, there you may be also,” (John 14:3b, NKJV). This is clearly very important to Him for He petitions His Father for the disciples’ union as and with Their Own plus reunion with Him (John 17:20-24). As He taught, His disciples knew where He was going and the way and were enabled to follow Him to the Father (John 14:4-6).4 Once more, this was so they could be with Him there and wherever He was to be thereafter; never to be separated again! This is why in His coming again to earth He brings with Him the spirits of His disciples to resurrect and gather them with the living to Himself as His first priority act (Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 19:9-16).5
1 Read the October 23, 2022 post, Revenge Of Those Without God’s Mark, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
2 With this statement, the Lord assures He was only leading out first. His eleven would follow after Him to where He was going at a later time as millions have done until now,
3 The Lord’s resurrection after securing the eternal redemption of His followers made possible the reality of Him, the Father and Holy Spirit taking up residence in them so that
even though physically He would return to Heaven, He could still be with them as He explained (John 14:19-24). Later, the apostle Paul celebrates being used of God to re-
veal “the riches of the glory of this mystery…which is Christ in” us who believe, “the hope of glory,” (Colossians 1:24-27, NKJV).
4 This truth taught by the Lord is why no aspiring strong man or great woman of God in His image is found among the religious seeking to connect to the Father through any
manmade religious means! As the Lord leads I write about essential relationship with Him in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Get it along with the com-
panion Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study for the equipping of the saints in the home and churches in the
Strong Man Store, at your favorite internet bookseller or brick and mortar bookstore.
5 The Second Coming of Christ for the saints then, is not about rescue from tribulation as much as it is the union of Christ with His bride and their final reunion as eternally
living, glorified immortals (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 50-57)!
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