From the Pastor’s heart                                   The first and the last

Mat 19:28  And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration…Mat 19:29  And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. Mat 19:30  But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

In the scheme of things and according to God’s wisdom, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. This is an intriguing concept as man has always only desired to be first and has celebrated it as the best thing that can happen to a person above all else. As a result, man has strived to be the first in everything. Yet, in God’s wisdom, the first man (Adam) was only made as a living soul capable of dying, while the last man (Jesus) was made a quickening Spirit, who could not die. The second was obviously better than the first. In the same vein, we see that the Israel (chosen people) came first before the Church but the Church (Jews & Gentiles) coming second was given the privilege of enjoying the Christ nature and life thereby becoming the first in Christ. Now, it is the turn of Israel to accept Christ and come first again even though they will be last by virtue of accepting Him as Lord.

The mystery and power of this concept of first being last and vice versa is often lost in the maladies of life. Even we, as Christians, do not necessarily understand God’s ways. As a result, we question God’s intentions having not fully understood the work of the cross.  We have seen the cross as a finished work and so wonder why satan is still free to roam the earth and cause problems.  Man’s reasoning is, the cross should have resolved all issues for eternity. Yet, God in His wisdom has a second coming of Jesus to do this visibly on earth, and by this second coming denotes an unfinished work. The last coming of Jesus to the earth after the rapture will be the manifestation of the work He accomplished on the cross. Therefore, this will be better because the manifestation of that work on the cross will be made visible for all to see in the person of Jesus. The time between the 1st and 2nd coming is the period that we find ourselves fighting an invisible enemy for the last 2000 years. The in-between period is without much understanding about the ways of the Lord except we appropriate it by faith. Faith to believe the work of the 1st coming has power to keep us in our journey till either we go or Jesus comes in the 2nd coming. Many are waiting for the 2nd coming of Jesus without living the victorious life given to us on the cross through faith in the 1st coming and that work by Jesus. This is because many do not understand the wisdom of the first and the last. They keep looking at problems in the world and in their own lives not the wisdom of God. It is my personal belief that a person can go from strength to strength not based on an outcome of something in the future but what the 1st outcome provided for by our faith. The second coming of Jesus will culminate the ages and usher in a millennium that will be staggering to say the least. It is to this end that the 1st coming accomplished the preparation and the outworking of our salvation. Salvation must be outworked between the 1st and 2nd coming in order for the 2nd coming to be effective. The following must happen in-between:

1.     The gospel must be preached to all the world

2.     The Church must be established as the power source on earth while revealing the sons and daughters of God

3.     The sheep must separated from the goats

4.     The sheep must find its rightful place in the body of Christ

5.     Israel must be restored to its rightful place in the olive tree

6.     The anti-Christ must be exposed and defeated

7.     The judgements of God must fall on earth for the wickedness thereof

8.     In a personal sense, the 1st things that happen in our lives are stepping stones to greater things that happen afterwards. The 1st things can be considered as accepting Jesus as Saviour, getting water baptised and Holy Spirit baptised. Then come the 2nd things, maturity in Christ Jesus, no longer behaving like children, not being subject to the temptations of the devil or sin and finally, walking in preparation for the 2nd coming. Keeping the 1st things in our lives as foundational truths lead us to the 2nd things that need to happen. If the 1st things did not happen, then the 2nd things will be difficult to cultivate and maintain. This is where many people fall out and fail. God says, don’t go back to the past and the world. For it will be worse for you the second time around. Mat 12:43  When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.Mat 12:44  Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.Mat_12:45Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

The 2nd is always dependent on the 1st. Without Israel, there is no Church, without the law there is no grace and so on. So, do not despise your first or small beginnings because something greater is yet to come in your life. You must believe that and act accordingly upon that and not be soon discouraged.

Jesus was called to suffer and die as a sacrifice in the 1st instance. In the 2nd instance, He will come back as the glorious all conquering King made visible to the whole world. The difference is stark and contrasting. Had He come as the all powerful King in the first instance, there was no sacrifice for sins but a fearful looking toward judgement. In God’s grace, He sends a sacrifice in Jesus and then gives us a King of Kings who can rule us with equity (justice without partiality). Right now, many will not even submit to Him even after they have given their lives to Him because they have not understood the 2nd aspect of His being. He is Lord over all. Though satan is ruling the earth with impunity, he is subject to this Lord of Lords and through Jesus to us. We were subject to satan first but now he is subject us. You see how it works. God said; He would give us the former rain moderately but the latter rain would be without restraint. Joe_2:23Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. This wisdom of God is beyond understanding except the Holy Spirit gives us illumination. The Lord promises that your end will be better than your beginning. That, you will be the head and not the tail.

Many have come into this world and have lived miserable lives. Yet, when they met Jesus they were transformed from that misery to greatness and hope. What is coming at the 2nd coming of Jesus will be beyond imagination. So, don’t despair for this life or your current situation. God is bringing something better in your life:

1.     Your second life will be a supernatural eternal life, beyond imagination

2.     Your second body will be stupendous,

3.     Your second home will be magnificent

 

Your second everything will be God’s blessing and gift to you as He intended it to be in the first place. Rom_8:18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Let us come to the place of understanding about this concept for our personal lives. You may be wondering why things do not happen for you in the first instance. You find that your journey is one of learning and suffering and often time striving. Yet, through this, the prepared places along life’s journey speak of a finishing that will produce in you something far better than the first. When people first met you and assessed you, they would have had an opinion of you that was based on a first opinion. Yet, when they take a second look, they will find that something has changed in you that is inexplicable (mysterious). If you have walked in the ways of the Lord, you will be changed into the image of the Second man (Jesus). The first man (Adam) will give way to the Second man. The glory of the Lord will begin to shine out of you.

I am convinced that the first wine we drink in knowing Christ is made better when we receive more from the Holy Ghost who is the second wine. When Jesus made water out of wine at the wedding, the Governor was astonished at the quality of the wine which made him comment that the first wine was not as good. My friends, God sent Jesus as the first wine not for us to say it was not good but to understand that the first wine was necessary to be served in sacrifice, so that, the second wine, the Holy Spirit could be served without restraint causing that which would be produced in us as a result to be gloriously filled of the Spirit. Except a man be born again he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. This too indicates the first man will be regenerated into the second man (spirit). This is being born again. This is where the difference between saved and unsaved is evidenced. Even though all are human beings of the first kind (flesh), it does not mean that all will be born again automatically. It is a choice by faith.

 

Rev_1:11Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: Jesus is the First and the Last, The beginning and The End. There is a 1st death and a 2nd death. There is a 1st earth and heaven and a 2nd earth and heaven. This theme is right through the Bible. May God give you wisdom to understand the importance of your participation in the 2nd. He who begun a good work in us will be faithful to finish it. Come Lord Jesus, come.

Lots of love                             

Pastor Noble