Though we have preparing for tribulation on our minds, let's guard against placing that before what God is preparing for, lest fear and uncertainty rob of us of or crown: to gather to Himself a holy people, conformed to the image and likeness of His Son.
Today, God is calling through His word by his Spirit to all who believe in Christ to walk the narrow road. Jesus said it is so narrow, that few will find it:
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Jesus said it is by men's fruits, not gifts, that we shall know them. We already discussed the fruit of the Spirit and other things, and I said how they all come out of the fruit of holiness. A bowl full of fruit would be a good analogy, with the bowl being holiness. We have said how holiness in His people is God's priority, and that being called to walk this way would cause many not to enter, only those "that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (verse 21). We have seen how the WILL OF God is a people with each conformed to the image of the holy Lamb. That this is the WILL OF GOD is evident in the Scriptures we used regarding holiness:
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure OF HIS WILL,
This applies to Romans 8:28-30 that says God's purpose is that we conformed to the image of His Son:
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
These verses do not specifically mention the "will of God" as do the ones in Ephesians, but the previous verse, Romans 8:27, does. In fact, the Spirit prays for us ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD which is described in verses 27-30:
Romans 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints ACCORDING TO THE WILL OF GOD.
[SIDENOTE: Isn't it amazing that I am writing this, there is a man on Oprah telling the audience they a gathering of omnipresent "great ones" and they are at this moment as holy "as they are going to get." They are missing the call of God. Amazing. He is at this moment "preaching" the "many paths" doctrine.]
To continue, therefore, we are to do as the writer to the Hebrews wrote,
Hebrews 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
14 Follow peace with all men, AND HOLINESS, WITHOUT WHICH NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD:
We are sojourners on this earth who are to "follow [after] . . . holiness." Paul reminded the men of Israel that in the time of Moses, the Israelites were once sojourners in a strange land:
Acts 13:17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
And he reminded the church that some of the great Patriarchs of Israel were strangers and sojourners as well:
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
And Peter told the church they were "as strangers pilgrims":
1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims
All were, as we, looking for a better country, a better home, and God's call through the finished work of Christ is to be sanctified, to walk in holiness, because we are nearing the end of the road. You know what lies ahead and the kind of people we must be, knowing there is a highway we will walk with the Lamb one day:
Jesus will return one day to raise the dead and change the living, and Scripture says these are the "holy ones":
Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
Revelation 20:6 Blessed AND HOLY is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
l Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord . . .
Ephesians 5:26 "That he might sanctify and cleanse it [the church] with the washing of water by the word 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
God has justified us. He now calls to all to be sanctified, to be holy, to lay aside our walk in sin and walk in holiness as the Lamb walked. He has given us His word and His Spirit and the cleansing power of Jesus' shed blood remains to cleanse from sin. he has given us all things to cooperate with Him that we might walk in the holiness He expects.
I end this series with this encouragement:
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
2 Peter 3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation;
1 Peter 2:2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
End of Series.
Introduction: Tribulation Preparation: Called To be Holy
Part 1: God Is Holy And His Purpose For Us Is Holiness
Part 2: God Works All Things To Make Us Holy
Part 3: God brings About Our Progressive Sanctification Through His Word
Part 4: The Holy Spirit Works For Our Sanctification
Part 5: God Chastens Us For Our Sanctification
Part 6: Our Working Out Sanctification In Christ Has An End
Part 7: Our Christian Life: It Begins And Ends With Holiness
Part 8: Being Made Holy (Like Him) When He Comes
Part 9: God Shall Judge The World In The Beauty Of His Holiness