Saturday, August 3, 2019

End Times - Mathew 24:23 - Behold, Here is the Christ

By Odon Bulamba

“Mathew 24:23

We are going to share the Word of God and continue with Mathew 24 and today we are going to talk about this message that Jesus left to us in verse 23.  Whenever someone will tell you that Jesus is here or there, do not believe them.  The secret behind this message is not about the presence of Jesus somewhere but that imperative form, “don’t believe”.  It is a command.  This is an instruction which is a MUST that Jesus is telling the church.

If you look carefully, the whole chapter 24 is about the love of God for His children, those chosen by Him.  Because He has worked hard to redeem us, He doesn’t want us to get lost so He is giving us all the signs so we cannot go far from Him and perish.

The effort that Jesus has made to leave the Kingdom of God to come down here to rescue me and you mean a lot.  Maybe for you as a human being, you might not think about it.  I’ve seen during my time here when I go overseas, I leave my comfort and everything behind and I must go to rural areas where they might not know clothing or cooking as we know it.  You must be with them and eat what they eat, wear what they wear.  I remember one tribe ran away when they saw human beings in clothes, so we had to be naked to spend time with them.

It’s not easy to leave what you know to spend time with others.  Jesus left the Kingdom of God only because He loves us.  He left everything to seek you and me.  After doing all the work He did on the cross and to preach the gospel to accept the path to heaven, to accept to be like us and to be the truth for you and me so that we will not get lost means a lot. 

In my culture we have a truth that is opposite to Jesus, it is a wrong truth.  Everyone has their own culture which is different from the culture of God.  Once you practice another culture and its truth, you lose your visa to the Kingdom of God.  Jesus came down to show us the truth.  Jesus came down to show us that He is the only way to heaven.  “The way” means that we walk on the way to get to the destination.  Jesus made Himself like a path/road that you can use with your dirty feed to reach the Kingdom of God which is what we call forgiveness.  Come as you are, and He will take you to the Father.

After doing all that work, Jesus wanted to preserve us, “Here are the signs so you will know when I come back, think of them and make the right decision”. Don’t believe if anyone tells you that Jesus is here, even yourself, your pastor, the king/queen.  Jesus said this because satan knows very well that if you say Jesus is here, those who believe in Him will leave where they are and go there.

For example, recently in Kenya, this pastor met with two white men and one had long hair like Jesus in the movies and he told that man, “We can make money with your appearance, we can con people.  Whenever I preach the gospel, I will open the curtain behind me and then you appear like Jesus and then you can tell people specific messages.  I can assure you we will get money from this”. 

He wore a robe of white and shawl over his shoulder.  The pastor said, “Jesus is going to be here today”.  Suddenly the lights went out in the church.  The curtains pulled aside and here is the white man with his hands up.  “Peace be with you”.  Then he started to say names of people.  “X person, you have such problem, today you will have solution”.  By naming the people and their problems, people believed him.

Then this false Jesus said, “Now you have to offer”. People were coming from 60km to see Jesus appearing until the government discovered the truth and arrested the pastor and Jesus and the other friend.  I can tell you that 90% of those misled were Christians.  People of other religions didn’t come closer but those who believed in Jesus were victims of the scam.

We must be careful and the command He is giving is, “Do not believe”.  How much do you love Jesus?  To accept His word and instructions, you have to know if you really love Jesus or not?  For love of us, He came down and advised us on the way to live and what will happen in the future and He doesn’t hide anything from us and tries hard to explain to us what pleases or not pleases Him through the Bible.  If you want to offend God, just do what he doesn’t like as written in the Word of God. 

Because Jesus loves us and wants us to have a good relationship, He gave us His Word.  Put it in practice.  Faith, love and hope are three things of importance to God and love is the greatest but we as human beings stick on faith, we want faith and we want things to happen because we have faith.  When we pray, we can say, because of your love Jesus, please do this.  We prefer to say, Lord give me enough faith to move the mountains.  Sometimes we also pray and focus on hope.  I hope this will happen soon.  Love takes the third position very often.

In one of my dreams once, an unknown person came in my dream and said, “Are you saved?”  I said, “Why do you ask this?”  “Be honest, are you saved” “Yes I am”.  “Do you love Jesus?  “I do but not that much”.  “Out of 10, how much do you love Jesus?”  “I know your love your children, your life, your clothes, your food but how much do you love Jesus out of 10, be honest”. My answer was shocking and I felt ashamed with my answer. 

Consider how much you give to yourself compared to that which you offer to Jesus.  I found that I don’t love Jesus that much.  As Colleen said here, when we are planning to go somewhere, you start to prepare.  What will I eat, where will I stay, even clothes, what time am I leaving?  You plan it ahead and it will take time, effort, money and maybe don’t sleep because you are planning your coming journey.  Some will write notes.  Some will read reviews on the internet and visit YouTube.  It will take them hours and they will even ask others who have been there.

If you don’t take time to do your research and prepare yourself then you may regret it.  Once in China I walked into a restaurant and they welcomed me nicely and they brought a small kettle with a cup.  I had a cup of tea.  Then a glass of water.  I ate.  After eating, I saw the bill.  I was shocked.  To sit in the chair cost me US$5.   The cup of tea was US$4/6.  Then the toothpick I used US$1.  The servant who came, you must pay her US$10 on top of the food.  You have consumed our food and effort and you must pay for it.  It was a shock. Because I was lazy to research and find out the truth the hard way. 

Another time, I went to the bank in China, a national bank, a respectable big bank.  I had come with $US and went to ATM machine and all the bank notes were fake bank notes.  The numbers were not straight.  This is not normal.  By observing I could see they all had the same number.  I went to the counter, “This is your money that I just collected from them”.  They said, “No, you didn’t get it from our machine”.  They said, “No I didn’t see you”.  After a long discussion, “Let’s have a look at our video”.  After viewing the footage, they took the fake notes and gave proper bank notes.  That was a lesson for me, I should learn from this: take your own money when going to China because they will rip you off.

When you step into a taxi, the driver will say, “You will pay 5RMB but then they say 25 at the destination and they will take you in the middle of nowhere.  This is what Jesus is telling us.  You have to be careful because many will appear to be good people and say Jesus is here but it is not Me.

It is time now to test your belief.  What do you believe in?  When you love someone, you will believe all that they tell you and accept to follow their instructions.  You will try your best to respect their words and follow what they have told you because you love them but when love decreases, that is when you throw away everything they said, and you do whatever you want.

When Jesus gives instructions, “Don’t believe them”, Jesus is testing you love for him.  “If really you love Me you will listen to my voice and listen to My command so don’t believe when people say that Jesus is here”.  In the past, when Jesus would come down, people would rush to where Jesus was.  Jesus now lives in us so we don’t need to go anywhere to look for Him because He is with you. 

We have to make sure that we remember every time that we are together with Jesus no matter where we go.  if I remember that Jesus is in me, I can easily become His friend, He is talking with me right now and is really close to me.

Today the church is sleeping because we only want to hear, “Someone is here,” and we must go there. That apostle is the one who walks with Jesus in his brief case.  When people hear, oh, Benny Hinn is in Auckland, many people go there because they believe that they will see Jesus through Benny Hinn.  If someone tells you to have your own personal time in your room to pray and read Word of God people will be bored.

Psalm 95:7,8

We are the sheep of God and we are in His hands and He needs us but don’t harden your heart because this is what makes us away from God.  Jesus lives in us and when He speaks to us, we shut our mind and heart and try to close our ears and not listen to Him and decide to do what we want to do it, when and how we want.

Although we have seen the work of God in our lives and the great things He has done, we harden our hearts.  I was touched by Colleen’s prayer this morning, “Our Father who art in heave (Mathew 6), let Your will be done”.  That is a powerful prayer.  Do you let the will of God be done in your life or is your own will take the first place?  Very often our own will takes the first position.

What is my will as I prepare my journey?  I want to be in heaven.  Am I preparing myself to go to heaven?  Did I book my flight, prepare my clothes, prepare all that I need to go to heaven?  Maybe not because I think I have time and I will do it later.  I remember Guillaume used to tell me in 2025 I will be in this position, I will do this and fulfil this in my life but he didn’t see 2020.  Now he is gone.  No one could stop it. 

No one can say I have $500,000, death leave me behind because I want to live longer.  Someone who was walking and talking yesterday, is now in the grave and can no longer move anymore and can no longer pray for forgiveness.  Did he believe in the Word of God or did he believe that Jesus was here or there?  If he believed in Jesus and what he was saying, then praise the Lord. 

We need to prepare ourselves.  Look after your soul first and don’t follow what others are following just because that is where others are going.  Every day ask yourself if your soul ready for the Lord Jesus.

There is an insult, all are following like penguins.  If a penguin goes in one direction, they all follow and if one stops, they all stop.  They don’t think and just follow the one in front.  If danger comes, they all scatter.  Follow Jesus as a penguin is good but not people or congregations.  No one can tell you if you are entering the Kingdom of God, only the Word of God can tell you when you look at the Word of God and your position.  Go to Jesus and ask for forgiveness because He is the path.  I encourage you to prepare for the coming of Jesus.

As we have reached Mathew 24:23. Many false prophets will come, be careful, be cautious and wake up our minds before taking our own actions.