SABBATH

God's Gift to Us
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commentary: The Path from Here to Beyond

Let's Go On
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 14-Jan-12; Sermon #1083c; 10 minutes

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John Ritenbaugh, acknowledging that the Church of the Great God has reached its 20th anniversary, acknowledges also that we have no idea when Christ will return. We have to trust God's judgment that He will fulfill our needs until He does return and establishes the Kingdom of God. We must be ready, preparing ourselves continually for our role in the coming Kingdom of God, regardless when it comes, working in the day while the sun is still shining, or while we are still alive. Now it is time to wake up, casting off the works of darkness, putting on the armor of light. We must develop the athlete's work ethic, practicing continually until we have the competitive edge. We must, in our mind's eye, see our God crafting us into what He desires, allowing His laws to be engraved permanently in our hearts.




On Wednesday, January the 11th, one door closed and another opened. The door closed on the previous 20 year history of the Church of the Great God and opened to the future, however far off that might be. Does anybody really know how long we are going to have to wait? The answer is clearly and resoundingly, No. Every speculation that has been made by every person, regardless of the greatness of their name, right up to this very moment, has proved wrong. And clearly, whoever makes these guesses is out of step with God on this issue.

In practical terms, what should this mean to us regarding how we should live our lives? I believe that God is showing us that He will fulfill His promises in His good time, but in the meanwhile, we must use our time to be prepared when He does fulfill His word according to His schedule. We must take care of what we can control because our anxieties regarding the present circumstances and when Christ will come will have absolutely no influence whatever on His decision regarding that time. The bottom line issue for us is, do we trust His judgment? Do we trust that He will supply our needs as time and events progress toward that time?

In other words, I believe that He is strongly signaling us that He wants us to live our lives, taking care to use this present time in continuing preparing, but always, while doing this, having one eye cocked on God's great goal for us. That great goal, brethren, is the Kingdom of God. It is not Christ's return. As important as His return is, it is secondary to what it accomplishes, and what it accomplishes is the goal that we must be prepared for. It is this that we are preparing for: the Kingdom of God.

This is why I keep reminding us from time to time, asking, "Do you see God?" Because seeing God is essential to living by faith and thus being prepared for the Kingdom of God when God determines it arrives here on Planet Earth.

In Luke 13:31, Jesus was warned by some Pharisees to get out of Jerusalem because Herod was planning to kill Him. In verse 33, He responded by saying, "Nevertheless, I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem." Jesus undoubtedly knew a deadline was approaching, but He had set His will that regardless of when or how His end as a man would happen, He had to make the best use of His time right then. And so, He set us an example for all time, for all of His disciples.

Jesus went on in John 9:4,

John 9:4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.

The night, in this case, is one's death when no one works while they are dead. So Jesus is saying in this case, "I must strike while the iron is hot, and right now it is hot."

Paul gives more specific instruction in Romans 13, beginning in verse 11, by saying,

Romans 13:11-14 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

In sports, there is a catch phrase very often used by commentators to describe either the potential greatness of a young athlete or to describe what made an athlete already judged as having attained a great measure of athletic maturity and, of course, value to his team. It is termed the athlete's work ethic. The evaluator judges whether the young athlete is willing to sacrifice his time to diligently work to hone his natural abilities to such a sharpness through practice, practice, practice and more practice until he automatically acts and reacts to gain circumstances without having to go through the thinking process.

Those athletes who have already done this and are respected by their fellow athletes and coaches are said to have paid their dues. They earned the admiration through hard work, out of the public eye. In regard to the kingdom of God, our time for practice is right now. We are charged—indeed, required by God—to live by faith, and that is to live our life, motivated by our trust, not merely in His existence, but also that He is indeed at one and the same time our spiritual Father, and that He is ever close to us—in actual fact, overseeing our life.

We are to live, believing that He is actively creating us into what He desires to fit into a family and into a government He is forming to rule this earth under Jesus Christ. Our responsibility is to allow ourselves to be guided virtually every step of the way by His Word.

In order to do this, we must see God. Not literally, of course, but in our mind's eye, envisioning our purposeful Creator patiently crafting us into what He desires. If we do indeed see Him, we will yield to Him our time, our energies, and hone our skills while others feed their lusts.

To those who pay their dues, sacrificing themselves to His purpose, the result will be that His laws will be written in their hearts and minds. Then they—that is, we—will act and react to circumstances in life, even as He and our Elder Brother would. Our character will be perfectly meshed with His, thus bringing forth perfect teamwork. So, brethren, the door is open, so let's all walk through it together.

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