Do you have something you understand from an insider’s point of view, a favorite sport or hobby, a particular talent or skill? Avid football fans, for instance, speak with special insight about their favorite team, its coach, and the talent of individual players. A tennis enthusiast may speak of tennis as if no other sport can compare with the skills, technique, concentration, and athleticism needed on the court.
Summary: It is one thing to have the inside track on matters in the world. How much more wonderful it is to be to living with confidence about Christ’s return. People can either live un-phased by circumstances or escape the things coming upon the world in response to what’s ahead. Escape comes from hearing Christ’s word in a way that enables us to keep it. Those who keep God’s word and overcome present obstacles shine with the light of His glory in His temple, because they are being tabernacled over by God through Christ. Jesus has made the way to completely bind the enemy’s power from a life. Because Jesus is the way, all God’s promises, including sharing in the tree of life, are available to those who are overcoming.
Following Jesus means living life with that kind of “inside baseball” understanding described above but about the things that matter for eternity. Living in line with Christ’s return produces an understanding of the times we are living in and heaven’s message of endurance, joy, hope, and strength in the nitty-gritty of real life.
Jesus told His disciples that because He went away to prepare a place for them and because He would come to them so where He was they would be, they did not have to be afraid. He would reveal Himself to them and not to the world.
To those of you now reading this who doubt this is possible either for the disciples to whom Jesus spoke directly, or to us, who live 2,000 years after Christ’s resurrection, Jesus also said this, “…If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him.” From His making His home with us, and our abiding in Him, comes our deliverance from fear. Jesus calls each believer to experience this intimate knowledge of walking with God that comes from keeping His word.
Jesus in the Gospels warned about not keeping His word, about all those on the face of the earth to whom the Lord’s return would be a snare, as when a person fleeing disaster falls into a pit (Isaiah 24:18). Anxiety ridden, they become entangled. On the other hand, Jesus has provided a way out for all those who will take it. He is clear about how not to be caught unaware by the Day of the Lord.
Those of us who have our minds set on things above and not on things of the earth will not be taken by surprise by the Lord’s return. Jesus said the way out is to be accounted worthy to escape. In Revelation Jesus identified the worthy as those who overcome. They will walk with Him in white. Walking worthy means being awake (so we are not surprised as by a thief) and alert, in other words, life characterized by 24/7 vigilance.
Being awake and vigilant in relationship with God is contrary to the daily experience of those who would be ensnared and can only be experienced in the grace of God.
Most people live their lives on earth as if everything is going along the same and always will, but those who are awake to the voice of Jesus in heaven recognize that times are perilous and so become vigilant in their wakefulness and in their relationship with God. While things of God appear out of the ordinary to the sleeping (let’s call them), the alert do not take any time off from walking with Jesus, for abiding moment by moment in God’s grace is how they live. It is completely normal for them and the life of obedience they are called to.
Just as enlisted on-duty soldiers only involve themselves with military matters and not with matters of civilian life, and are recognized for their faithfulness, those who vigilantly serve Jesus find themselves accounted worthy of escaping the things about to come to pass in the world and are able to stand before the Son of Man.
Those prepared for the Lord’s return have a glorious living hope. They can see the day coming, while others go along as if the day is no nearer than when Christ ascended into the clouds of heaven nearly 2,000 years ago. Those who escape being ensnared sense the shortness of time as the days must be shortened for the sake of the elect. We must be made to have eyes that see and ears that hear, and we must be overcoming, because achieving victory in the strength the Lord provides is the way of escape and the way to stand unashamed before Him.
Being tabernacled over by God the Father, those ready to see Jesus shine as a light on a lampstand filling a room with its brightness, but the light can only completely fill us when we can hear the word in such a way as to keep it. This is so important to Jesus that He said whoever did the will of God was His true family member, even more so than His own biological brothers and sisters. Only the Spirit of God can truly and thoroughly cleanse us in a way that we are forever changed to do the will of God from the heart.
Doing God’s will from a place of deep connection with God comes from the message of wellbeing in Christ. It is not an earthly-generated, self-improvement program, because improving ourselves can never transform us from glory to glory as beholding the glory of God in the face of Christ changes us. As Jesus said in Matthew, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.” We, because of our sinfulness, cannot cleanse ourselves by ourselves. The effort is futile and even self-defeating. The changes that bring eternal rewards result from achieving victory based on hearing what the Spirit is saying to us and acting upon the words and promises of Christ.
God has made the way for each of us to overcome by Jesus declaring His judgment to victory. As Matthew 12:18-21 says, “’Lo, My servant, whom I did choose, My beloved, in whom My soul did delight, I will put My Spirit upon him, and judgment to the nations he shall declare, he shall not strive nor cry, nor shall any hear in the broad places his voice, a bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking flax he shall not quench, till he may put forth judgment to victory, and in his name shall nations hope.’”
The word of Jesus calls into the nations to find those who will hear His voice to receive the pronounced victory on their behalf, but He had to first overcome the strong man. By first binding him, Jesus demonstrated that all authority and power are Christ’s to strip principalities of their influence upon our lives. Therefore, the Messiah is able to fill us, make us stand, and lead us from victory to victory. In sum, Jesus empowers us to overcome. Paul said standing firm takes putting on the whole armor of God, and Jesus has the right to all the strong man’s armaments, absolutely everything, so we lack nothing we need to stand complete in Christ’s safety and protection.
In Revelation, Jesus spoke many promises about entering into His victory. He said He would make those who overcome pillars in the temple of His God. He would grant them to eat from the Tree of Life in the paradise of God. He said they would sit down with Him in His throne as He overcame and sits with His Father. He said overcomers would escape what is about to come upon the world. Jesus promised to write the name of His Father, His own name, and the name of the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven upon those who are achieving victory.
Seeing the world, our relationships, our role in God’s plan, and ourselves in need of underserved grace is crucial to being the servants God wants us to be. There is no better place to be than in the presence of God in Christ, being tabernacled over by Him. This is the reality of those who abide in Christ and are overcoming. Everything they need, Christ provides, even Himself. Everyday they live in the coming reality of Christ’s presence.