The Coming of Age

 by Jack Picataggi
  

Throughout the history of the Church Age, and indeed prior, men have looked upon their day as the possible time when the end of the ages would draw near. I too, in this time and season of the world, can see the distinct possibility that this very day is upon us.

 

In considering this subject, I will be presenting two different views of the same topic. Our first view is as if the day of the Lord is literally upon us; the second is through the eyes of Hebrews 11:39-40: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, did not receive the promise, for God had provided some better thing for us, that they should not be made perfect without us.”

 

In both of these positions, our Father is looking to us as His sons and daughters for the same degree of character and holiness in our lives. Many who believe in the pre-millennial rapture of the Church espouse the philosophy that Jesus could return at any moment; therefore we must prepare our lives to meet Him at any time. Let me just say, we should live our lives that way whether He returns today, tomorrow or not within our lifetimes. We do not pursue holiness out of fear of hell, but to bring God glory and honor; we do not seek to develop God’s character in our lives for the sake of the law, but because we love Him and desire only to please Him.

 

Throughout the entire Church Age, man has desperately needed a Savior to deliver him from the mess he has created, and there has always been a great need for the Church to stand up and declare Christ to be that answer.

 

In our day, we are witnessing as never before the nations of the world casting off restraint. Immorality and perversion have replaced a righteous standard. In the United States, God’s priorities have been replaced by the importance of money and meeting the needs of “me, myself and I.” Our system of governing laws protects the rights of minorities from being trodden underfoot by mob rule, but we have lost our sense of boundaries of what should be protected. We as Christians cast our votes for men and women who feel the most innocent among us, the unborn child, should be sacrificed to excuse an undisciplined action. Our moral compass has lost its true bearing.

 

In the Church, we have those who continually inform us that they are “The Leaders” of the Church, declaring themselves to be the prophets and the apostles of the end-time global movement. When what these “leaders” say, what they prophesy and what they claim is of God does not prove accurate, they fail to apologize. Instead, they continue on to the next new thing, claiming God is now speaking something else.

 

Many leaders have fallen into moral failure because of a lack of relationship with the Holy Spirit and His work of sanctification in our lives. (Let me add that if any man or woman falls into sin, God can and does forgive, and He can restore the trust that was breached and restore him or her back fully into ministry.) Often, gifting, revelation and natural organizational skills are mistaken for the character and holiness the Lord demands from His body, particularly His leaders.

 

But even as the spirit of antichrist has been working to draw men’s hearts away from the reality of Christ, at the same time, the Holy Spirit has prepared a people through whom He could speak in favor of Christ—true leaders who will impart the truth of what they preach through their own personal experience of the transforming power of the cross. In the leadership of the Body of Christ, the evidence of the character and nature of Christ must become a living reality.

 

As never before, the messages of sonship, the Bride, the overcomer and even walking in resurrection life are being preached. We should and do rejoice when we hear these things being openly taught and accepted. One day I was speaking to the Lord concerning a ministry that, while I really identified with the message being spoken, I had some very serious questions about many of its other positions. The Lord helped me understand that in preaching the Gospel, we first must experience it, so that when we preach to others it will have power and witness to those to whom we are speaking.

 

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also will reap (Galatians 6:7).”

 

A single man speaking on the joys of marriage to a group of young men cannot convey the true reality of something he has never experienced. It sounds good, but it is being spoken without any experience. In theory, anyone can tell you how to build a house, but if I through experience have built several houses, you would probably get a lot more from your conversation with me.

 

So it is with the message concerning relationship and union with God: if I have not walked in union or relationship with Him, I have no real authority or ability to impart that message in the full sense of truth that hearers need to enable that word to get into not only their minds, but their spirits.

 

We must begin to walk in the reality that Jesus’ victory on the cross goes far beyond forgiving bad behavior when confessed. Christ’s blood also sets us free from sin’s power so we can come to the place where we no longer practice that sin, and in time, we begin to overcome that sin’s desire and attraction until it no longer has any claim or place in us and we can live lives of holiness before God. Salvation is not merely a means to escape hell, as many would believe, but rather a full pardon and complete freedom from sin. God requires much, but He has given us the means, by the cross, to enable us to fulfill His requirements for holiness.

 

We as Christians often struggle with the concept that we can truly become a holy people. After all, everyone knows that there is only one holy man, and that’s Jesus, right? No! For too long, we have excused ourselves by saying only Jesus could be holy when Jesus Himself instructed us, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48).” Notice He did not say just to be holy. His standard for us to base our holiness on is “as our heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

God is requiring nothing but the highest from those who want to qualify for His best. Matthew 22:14 states, “For many are called, but few chosen.” The word chosen is better translated as “qualify.” It is not given—it is granted. The Centurion said that because he was under authority, he could function out of that same authority. This implies that if he were not under Caesar’s authority, he would have no authority at all. Kingdom authority is only granted based on our submission to the laws of the kingdom and the King. It has been said before, salvation is free; the Kingdom will cost you everything. 

 

The Lord is looking throughout the earth in our day, as He has throughout history, for a people who love Him; a people who desire to live clean and free from the bondages of sin, that He might put His seal of approval upon their lives as He did with His Son, Jesus Christ: “And lo, a voice from Heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17).’”

 

We read of this people in Revelation 19:7-8: “For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white (emphasis added).” Because Christ’s Bride prepared herself—she lay down her life, will and wrong choices—the Lord granted her the ability to overcome those very things and exchange them for His character and purity.

 

The coming age, the Kingdom of God, will be comprised of those who have applied this gospel of salvation to themselves so they not only speak words, but live them—having the Word made flesh in their lives.

 

I say, then, Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).”

 

Now for our second view, let’s say Jesus does not come back in our lifetime. Even if this is the case, He is still expecting His Bride, His sons, His overcomers to do what Abraham did in Hebrews 11:8-10: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out into a place which he was afterward going to receive for an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he went. By faith he lived in the land of promise as a stranger, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs of the same promise with him. For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God (emphasis added). If we walk this out by faith we will, with the great men and women in Hebrews 11, enter into the “promise” when that day comes to fruition.

 

Whether Jesus comes back soon or not does not disqualify me from entering by faith into that which will happen at the end of the ages. I can be an end time overcomer by faith.  As Hebrews tells us, many men and women walk in a day and a faith to which they were not born, but when that day comes to pass, their faith will be counted unto them for righteousness.

 

Our walk in this Kingdom Age is not about time: it is about faith and faithfulness.

 

Duplication and re-transmission of this writing is permitted provided that complete source and website information for Pinecrest Bible Training Center is included. Material may not be taken out of context to slander or defame this ministry.