"Final Warning"   (June 2008)

For several weeks now during my prayer time I keep hearing the Lord speak the words “final warning” to my heart.  I have also been hearing something else- “set the trumpet to your mouth”.  The blowing of a trumpet serves many purposes.  In the military trumpets were used to wake up the soldiers and sound the signal to charge into battle or retreat.  They are also used to sound a warning.  “Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.” (Hosea 8:1)  “Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.” (Ezekiel 33:1-4)  A third word I have been hearing is- “get ready, get ready, get ready.”  Through these phrases I have been hearing in my spirit, I believe the Lord is sending out a warning to the world, to this nation, to the church and to the lost who don’t know Him as Savior and Lord. 

There is no doubt that we are living in the last days.  The signs are everywhere.  Even those who don’t profess to believe in God and who don’t believe His Bible are aware that something is going on- something “climatic”.  People everywhere are talking about the events that are taking place- wars, rumors of wars, economic unrest, violence on the increase, etc.  The world knows something is “brewing”.  God does too, and because He is who He is- not only a God of judgment but a God of mercy as well- He is warning us of what is to come and giving us an opportunity to get prepared.

When I said, “final warning” it can mean one of two things- it could mean that this is the last warning you will get, or it could mean that these are the last warnings that will be sent.  Look with me for a moment at some examples.  “And thou shalt say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.  Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.” (Exodus 7:16,17)  When God sent Moses to Pharaoh to tell him to let His people go, God gave him a warning.  He sent Pharaoh warning that this was the end of the Israelites’ slavery and that he had to let them go or else He would send plagues among them- these were the last warnings he was going to receive from God.  Of course, you know the story, Pharaoh did not let them go and so God sent ten plagues among them.  Then God gave what I call a “final, final warning”- the last warning he would ever receive from God.  “And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.  And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.  And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.” (Exodus 11:1,5,6)

God also sent a warning to the city of Nineveh that He was going to send judgment to them.  “Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.  And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.  So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.  And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.  So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” (Jonah 1:1,2; 3:1-5)  This was a final warning to them- in forty days they would be overthrown.

God sent a warning to Hezekiah when he sick that he was going to die so he needed to get his house in order.  “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.” (2 Kings 20:1)

As we have seen through these examples, and there are so many more in the Bible, that God sends warnings to individuals- like Hezekiah; He sends them to rulers- as He did with Pharaoh; and He sends them to cities, nations, countries- as was the case with Nineveh.  Because He is a merciful God, not willing that anyone should perish, because He loves mercy more than judgment, He always sends a warning before He moves in judgment or allows evil to come upon a land.  “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” (Micah 7:18)

He also sends warnings to His people.  One of the greatest warnings that He gives in scripture is concerning the End Times.  “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3)  When the disciples asked Jesus what would be the sign of His coming, the first thing He did was give them a warning.  “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” (verse 4)  “Take heed” is a warning.  He warned them that deceivers would come in His name- there would be many false prophets.  He warned them that nations would rise against nations- wars would be fought.  He warned them of famines, earthquakes, pestilence.  He warned them that iniquity would abound and they would be betrayed and hated by one another.  We also see Him sending out another warning concerning the End Times (or Last Days)- the time prior to His coming.  It is found in the Book of Revelation.  In Revelation chapter one, Jesus reveals to John who He is and immediately gives him a commission to write concerning the things he is about to see and hear.  The first thing John is told to do is to write to the seven churches in Asia.  (I don’t have enough room to print the whole second and third chapters here so you will need to read them for yourself.)  Jesus begins by warning these churches of their state- their condition- and need for repentance.  Then He gives them a warning concerning what will happen to them if they don’t repent.  Finally He concludes His discourse with each church by warning them to “have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying”.  If they did not heed these warnings they would not be over comers in the time that is to come upon them, but instead they would be overcome.

Each time Jesus talked about His coming it included a warning.  This was also the case when He likened His coming to the days of Noah.  “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37-39)  In this He is warning us not to be so caught up in the things of this life- it’s cares and affairs- that we are unaware of what is happening around us.  This is why He also gave this warning in Luke 21:34- “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”

We know we are living in the Last Days and if in the Bible each time the Last Days are talked about the Lord attaches a warning to it, then it would be within God’s character and nature to be sounding a trumpet now to warn His people to get ready for what is coming.  God is speaking to those who will listen concerning the events that will begin to take place the closer we get to His coming.  Those who are listening are being called to “set the trumpet to your mouth” and warn others so that none will perish.

I am setting a trumpet to my mouth in this newsletter and sounding a warning.  The first warning is to the church.  “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)  If you noticed in the Book of Revelation the first place He started was with the church.  I believe that God is sending a warning to His church to get right with Him and ready for His return.  It’s time the church make Him our first love again.  We have turned aside from Him and followed after other lovers- money, fame, fortune, popularity, prestige, material possessions.  It’s time we stop being lukewarm.  We need to get on fire for the Lord again.  We need to stop being casual when it concerns our relationship with the Lord.  We have a “take it or leave it” mentality when it comes to obeying His commands, reading His word, praying, attending His house.  We give God what we want Him to have instead of what He requires.  We don’t seek Him first but last after we have exhausted all other resources.  We devise our own plans and programs and ask Him to bless them.  We have “kicked” Him out of His own house and set up our agendas.  We have made “superstars” out of ministers and set them on pedestals- dethroning God in the process.  We have allowed the profane into God’s house and called it holy.  We have patterned ourselves after the world and justified it.  We have accepted what God rejects and reject what God accepts.  I could go on and on with a list of what we are doing that has nothing to do with God, that does not look like Him, that does not please Him, that does not honor Him, but Jesus already did that when He addressed the churches in Revelation.  It’s time we heed the warnings He gave and repent and adjust our lives accordingly or we won’t be ready for what’s ahead.  It’s time we “get our act together” because He is coming for a church that is holy, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27) and a bride that has made herself ready. (Rev. 19:7)

It’s time the church gets back on track and fulfill our commission especial because of the lateness of the hour.  The warning came to the churches first in Revelation so that they could get right with God and then warn others of what was to come.  After they heeded the warnings of Jesus and repented then they would be able to go into the highways and byways and compel the lost to come in.  They had to repent in order to help others turn in repentance.  They had to get back on fire in order to help ignite a fire under those who were cold and indifferent.  They had to get back their zeal to strengthen them for the task of reaching the world with the gospel.  They had to get rid of besetting sins in order to have the liberty to address sins in the lives of sinners.  They had to get rid of error in order to bring truth to those who are deceived and believe a lie.  They had to fall back in love with Jesus to be able to present Him correctly.  I keep saying “they” but it’s “us”.  We are also represented by this group of churches, and because we are the ones who are actually living in this Last Day age, we need to make sure we are where we should be with the Lord and help others find their way to Christ.  We must warn the wicked man of his wicked ways lest he perish.  “When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” (Ezekiel 33:8)

The next warning I want to sound takes us past the End Times- past the time prior to His return.  It’s a time that every man, woman, boy and girl will face.  It’s the time when we stand before the Lord.  “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” (Revelation 20:11-13)

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)  One day everyone of us will stand before the Lord.  At that time He won’t be Jesus the Savior, He won’t be the one we prayed to over our meals, He won’t be what we “perceive” Him to be, He won’t be the “man upstairs”, He will be the Judge.  We will all be on trial before Him and unlike most courtrooms, there won’t be a jury to decide our innocence or guilt, there will only be a Judge- and He will be it.  When we stand before Him we will hear Him say one of two things-- “enter in” “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34) or “depart” “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (verse 41)

Are you ready to stand before the Lord?  Are you ready to stand before Him as Judge?  There are so many people today who believe that they are right with God and that they are going to spend eternity in heaven, but are not.  Many people believe that just because they believe in Jesus that they are saved.  Many others believe that because they go to church they are saved.  Others believe that because they joined a church or shook a preacher’s hand they are saved.  There are those who prayed a sinners prayers years ago so they believe that makes them saved.  Others believe that because they had a praying mother they are saved.  Some think that because they have been faithful in their marriage, haven't stolen anything, don’t drink or curse that they are saved.  Some think that because they support the work of the church they are saved.  None of those beliefs are an assurance that you are actually saved.    

Jesus talked about those who would stand before Him one day and make all kinds of professions and give reasons why they should enter into heaven.  “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matt. 7:22)  To them His reply will be, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (vv. 7:21,23)

Jesus warned of deception in the last days.  One of the greatest deceptions the enemy has perpetrated is to cause people to believe they are saved when they really aren’t.  He has told them that there is no hell and a loving God would not send them there if it were so you don’t have to worry about going there.  He tells people that they aren’t that bad- they are better than some who call themselves a Christian.  He tells them there is no evil, there is no punishment for sins, this is all a myth, a scare tactic.  He convinces them that they can live anyway they want and still go to heaven.

The Bible doesn’t say any of that.  It is deception and if you believe it you are risking your eternity on a lie.  The Judge Himself tells us how to stand before Him and hear Him pronounce the sentence of “innocent- enter in”.  We need to take heed to what He says.  If we are trusting in anything other than faith in what Jesus did for us at the cross, we will stand before Him without a defense.  “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 21:7)  “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

The warning is going out- get ready for the Lord’s return; get ready because you will stand before Him in the judgment; get ready by getting your life right with God.