In these times, when we are forced to obey the laws of the state and meet in small groups, we are longing to past times, when we met in large assemblies and large conferences and it is natural, but …. our passion is mental and emotional, the Lord said in His word: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).
Why did the Lord say that? He wants to teach us that the congregation is a tool in His hands and not a goal. We are the congregation and not the building…! And we can be also few brothers/sisters in our meetings and be blessed, the main thing is that the Lord Yeshua will be at the center!
“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
Our ambition should be for the future, a time when we will be part of the great gathering of true believers, from all over the world and from all times – in the heavens: “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant…” (Heb. 12:23-24).
As believers with spiritual discernment, we must understand God’s will for us today. Our passion should be like that of the first believers in the book of “Acts”. They gathered in home congregations, they were blessed and God used them for His kingdom in His miraculous way. “…and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47). These encounters will bring us to a deeper acquaintance with our brethren, to involvement and a strong fellowship together and also in standing together against the attacks of the enemy of our soul during the persecutions that will come…(2 Tim. 3:12).
We as believers should look forward and not backward … “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phi. 3:20-21). We must discern and understand what God wants from us in these days and these times and not strive to go back to the past.
God stopped the world, first of all for us, His children. He prepares us for the time when the Antichrist will rule over the world, a time when we will have to resist his demands, which are contrary to God’s word and our personal conscience. These are things that are already happening today in totalitarian countries, such as: a ban on prayer meetings in general, a ban on reading the Scriptures … (and then maybe we will also have to meet in the underground…). We must already today, prepare and accustom ourselves not to surrender to the coercion of forceful people, who want to plunder our freedom in Messiah. We do need to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures. This is how we can make the right decisions and be whole with these decisions, even if we suffer rejection and defamation: “And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Rom. 8:17).
When we hold on to the Lord in difficult situations, on the way to the kingdom of heaven, we will receive the power and the might from Him. It is true, the path to the Kingdom of Heaven is full of trials and difficulties, but it will be temporary… “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
God did not destine us to wrath. God’s wrath, will be poured out on the earth with the bowls. At this time we will no longer be here on earth, by His great mercy. The suffering we suffer today and will suffer in the future, purifies us, cleanse us, brings us to repentance and prepares us for the meeting with the Lord, so that we will stand before Him as a bride, clean and ready without stain and wrinkle… “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Th. 5:9-11).
We must remember that the Lord is with us, both in troubles and in difficulties, in suffering. We are not alone! We are now living in challenging times. When we will understand that everything that happens today is according to God’s will and plan, we will trust Him more, lean on Him and be ready for more difficult times, which are yet to come upon the world. But, we need to be faithful to Him to the end! Our ambition should be like that of the first believers – to live a victorious life in honor of our Messiah: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Rev. 12:11).
The word of God reminds us of the heroes of faith, to be encouraged and to take an example from them: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Heb. 12:1-3).
Our gaze should always be up and forward… our redemption is closer to us today more than ever. We must always remember the word of God that encourages and strengthens us in the midst of suffering:
“…look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near“ (Luke 21:28). Hallelujah!