SIMPLICITY AND PURITY OF DEVOTION TO CHRIST
But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity of devotion to Christ.
(2 Cor 11:3, NASB.)
It is inevitable that stumbling blocks would come, (Luke 17:1-2); moreover, we are also warned that false prophets and false doctrines will creep into the gatherings of Believers unnoticed, (Jude 1:3-4; 2 Peter 2). This latter-day deception subtly brought in through the spirit of Antichrist (1 John 2:18-19), will be utterly refined, and will even be accompanied by great signs and wonders (Mat 24:24; 2 Thes 2:1-12; Rev 13:11-15). How then, shall we prepare ourselves for this hour?
The disciples specifically asked, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Mat 24:3). The signs of Christ’s return, being likened to the birth pangs of a woman in travail, were meticulously described by Messiah, (Mat 24:1-31; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:10-36). Yet, immediately, after He prophesied about the signs of the end of the age, Messiah related very specific parables to equip us in how we should prepare ourselves for this specific period of time.
The very first parable, The Sensible Slave, primarily focus on “the attitude of the servant,” (Mat 24:42-51; Luke 12:35-48). The sensible servant’s attitude is not at all, at first, focused on discerning the signs, or on discerning the coming deception parse, but on his heart attitude towards His Master. The faithful and sensible slave has an anticipating heart – “waiting for his Master.” In fact, this parable indicates that some will indeed lose sight of the prophetic declaration that Messiah will return on the clouds! (Acts 1:9-11)
The apostle Peter warns, ‘Know first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? Forever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation,”’ (2 Peter 3:3-4). Almost two thousand years lapsed since Peter made this prophetic statement. Is it not indeed then written to the generation living in these last days? Days come and go, and everything continues just the same, and it became, I believe, much more difficult to keep this ardent expectation burning in our hearts. Yet, it is exactly why Messiah addressed this matter in His parable on The Sensible Servant.
Having this expectation is indeed essential in our preparation for the return of our Lord as the King of kings and Lord of lords. First of all, this expectation will help to set us apart from the world, and ‘to set our minds on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth’ (Col 3:2), ‘for our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory,’ (Phil 3:20-21). It is so easy to fall into the trap of building a life for ourselves, to work and labor for earthly security. In essence, maintaining an ardent expectation for the return of Messiah will keep our focus on “seeking first the Kingdom of God” (Mat 6:33), and thus not to “build our own kingdoms,” or to “establish a name and a legacy,” which have no eternal value.
Moreover, we need to maintain our “first love,” (Rev 2:4). Keeping Jesus Christ “first” in everything we attempt is the most important protection against falling away from the truth. The apostle Paul maintained that there is “wealth” in the “full assurance of understanding” God’s mystery, Christ Jesus Himself, for if we gain true knowledge of Him, we have access to “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” for they are hidden in Him, (Col 2:2-3). If we are firmly rooted in Christ Jesus, we should also “walk in Him,” and, “be built up in Him,” (Col 2:6-7). If we devote ourselves to Him in simplicity, He will protect us from falling away into deception.
Let’s encourage one another to “leave” everything in this world in order to “cling” to Christ Jesus with “all our heart and all our soul and all our strength,” and thus to become “one” with Him, allowing Him to direct every aspect of our lives, (Eph 5:31-32); and let’s encourage one another to fervently expect His glorious appearance to establish His Millennial Kingdom on earth, (Rev 11:15-18).