Acts America

eBook: "What Have We Really Lost?"

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Our Gathering Together Unto Him

Drawn To The Person Of Jesus Christ

Paul is speaking to the body of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 concerning the day of the Lord, “Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, not by word, not by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”

Paul here is admonishing the church to be prepared for the coming of the Lord. He had said in 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 “Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven.” In Titus 2:13 Paul said, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Our daily lives should be centered around the blessed hope of His soon return.

But I believe Paul is also saying something else “by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (And) by our gathering together unto Him.” I believe this gathering unto Him is more than just awaiting the sound of the trump of God when “the dead in Christ shall rise and we that are alive and remain shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.”

Paul is speaking of a gathering unto Him preceding the Day of the Lord. He is speaking of the Holy Spirit drawing and gathering a Holy Remnant unto the Person of Christ; a holy calling to an intimate relationship with Jesus. Gathered unto Him preceding His return that we might say with Stephen, “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:5-6) There is a living person in glory, Jesus Christ, and there is a gathering unto (Him).

In Revelations 3:2 there is a man standing at the door of the church, but He is not just standing, He is knocking at that door. That man is Jesus Christ; that knock is a call to intimacy, a drawing away from form and ritual, and a gathering unto the Person of Jesus Christ. “He that hath an ear,” let him hear that knock, that gathering unto Him!

Jesus was not knocking at the door of a church that was (in their own estimation) poor and weak, but rather rich and increased, but yet Jesus draws a spiritual line. These that He speaks to are caught up in things about the Lord, but not gathered to the Person of the Lord. Jesus brings forth a pure word of repentance to gather them unto Himself that they might once again “sup with Him, and He with them.”

Jesus Is Standing At the Door Of His Church

There is a pure word going forth in these last days. God is raising up a Holy Remnant of ministers, a Zadok priesthood that refuse to be snared in this evil day. Their joy is not in the crowd, or the building, or the hype but rather ministering to the Person of Jesus Christ, having a love relationship with Him. “They shall come near to Me to minister unto Me; they shall enter into My holy place and they shall come near to My table to minister unto Me.” (Ezekiel 44:15-16) God will use them to knock at the door of His church and gather unto Him a Holy Bride.

God will have pastors who will stand before their flock with a pure word from God. These pastors will cry out to God that the sheep become intimate with the great shepherd. They will stand between the porch and altar for their congregation so that the wolves of deception are not allowed in.

There will be ministers who cannot be bought with price or honor. Preachers, who have allowed God to bring them through the crucible and mold them on the potter’s wheel, will not be ashamed nor afraid to preach the word of God with Holy Ghost conviction.

Their calling is from heaven, and they will guard it with prayer. Their message will be sharp enough to cut through all the spiritual phrases and emotional hype; yet, filled with the love and mercy of God to gather unto Jesus a people in love with Him.

We are living in the last days. Jesus is looking for men, women, boys and girls that will count the cost and be gathered unto Him. Jesus said in Luke 11:23 “He that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth.” Scattereth means to put to flight, to dissipate. Those who are not gathered unto Him will fall away from Him. Once again the line is drawn.

Paul draws this same line in 2 Thessalonians 2. In verse 1, where he speaks about our gathering unto Him but in verse 3, he says there will also be a falling away. That falling away is not from the church but rather from “the faith,” the intimacy. For Jesus Himself said, “when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Preceding the coming of the Lord there will at the same time be a gathering unto Him and a falling away from Him.

Right now, in the hour we live, there is a great drawing of the Holy Spirit to be gathered unto Jesus. But, at the same time, there is an evil conspiracy to pull you away from your intimacy with Christ.

Child of God, when was the last time you really had sweet communion with Jesus? When was the last time your heart was full of joy because you had been alone with Him as He had brought you into His chambers? How long since you experienced the sweet drawing of His presence to run after Him and rejoice in His love?

Our enemy (Satan) is not overly concerned at how much time you spend in church or ministering, or even in prayer (although you should be diligent in these). But He is very concerned with how much quality time you spend in God’s presence being transformed by His love, being gathered around His feet, humbled and broken by the power of the Spirit.

There Is An Evil Conspiracy To Draw You Away From Him

Satan is doing everything in his power to draw you away from the feet of Jesus. He will use every means to get you excited about anything other than the Person of Jesus Christ. He will even use the things of God to keep you satisfied without ever really experiencing the presence of God.

You see, too many times the church has related emotions and a feel good feeling, with the presence of God. But without disregarding these totally, the real presence of God is where the child of God is changed, where bondage and chains fall away, not just an emotional high. In His presence, our hearts are being made pure, that we might have His characteristics in everyday life, not just within the sanctuary when everything is at a fever pitch.

This is the very thing that Satan fears, that your heart would yearn for God’s presence. He wants you to be excited about anything (music, programs, etc) as long as your real joy is not being gathered unto the Person of Jesus Christ.

As Paul wrote to the young pastor, Timothy, he warned him of this very thing. He said to him, “Know also that in the last days perilous times shall come.” (2 Timothy 3:1)

He is speaking here again of those days just preceding the rapture of the church, those days when there is a gathering together unto Him, and he is now telling us that those days would be perilous.

What exactly did Paul mean? Perilous here means dangerous and difficult. The word times indicates a specific period with individual opportunities. Paul was simply saying to Timothy that, in the last days, there would be many opportunities for each individual to experience a dangerous and difficult time.

What kind of dangerous or difficult opportunities? The word perilous more specifically means the reducing of strength.

As the Holy Spirit gathers together a holy bride unto Jesus, Satan will endeavor to snare and entrap individuals. Paul relates this to Timothy just before he addresses the perilous times.

“In the hope that Go may grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and that they may come to their senses (and) escape out of the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him, (henceforth) to do God’s will.” (2 Timothy 2:25B-26 Amplified) “They also that seek after my life lay snares for me.” (Psalms 38:12) Satan endeavors to entrap and ensnare individuals and hold them captive that they might not do the will of God in their lives. He seeks after the real life of God in those that have tasted the Lord. He does this by seizing every opportunity to reduce or weaken your strength.

What opportunities does he look for? How does he accomplish this reduction of strength in the child of God? How will he snare the individual during this time of a gathering together unto the person of Jesus Christ? Will it be through sickness, financial difficulty, broken relationship? Yes, he does endeavor to use these to weaken you and reduce your strength.

But, I feel he seizes upon an even greater opportunity to reduce your strength. His greatest weapon in these perilous times, I believe, is to get you more excited, more joyful about something other than the person of Jesus Christ. He seizes individual opportunities to introduce the child of God to any thing that incites you to more action and more conversation than does your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the things of the world, he will use things within the framework of the church (music, ministry, works), anything to draw you away from embracing with all your heart loving to be with Jesus.

Our Strength Is Dependant Upon Our Intimacy With Christ

Satan realizes that if your joy is anything other than your relationship with Christ, your strength will be reduced. You will be open to be weakened in your faith and eventually snared. Why? Because “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) That scripture has a two fold meaning. First, His joy for us and, second, our joy for Him. The joy of the Lord is our strength, and we are weakened and reduced in strength when the Lord is not our joy, but we have e become more excited about other things.

This joy in other things is easily detected in the child of God. You will notice it in their actions and conversations. When in conversation with an individual, when you touch on that thing which they like or brings them joy, their whole mood and attitude changes. You will sense their whole level of enthusiasm rise and a stirring to converse about that which excites them. Whether it be a hobby, sports, clothes, cars, houses, menus, ministry, a talent, your job, money, shopping, relatives, how the Lord used you, whatever it might be, you will find that thing that stirs an excitement in a person.

Many are being snared with the love of other things in these last days, Many sit in church week after week deceived, not realizing Christ is on the outside knocking to get in. As there is a gathering together unto Him, many are being seduced and drawn away to other things.

Now listen very carefully. When your level of joy or enthusiasm is more easily stirred by anything other than your intimacy with Jesus, the results are far reaching. You will be less conscientious with respect to your sinful habits. You will be less moved with the warnings and cautious of God’s word and God’s counsel. You will be more careless of the conditions of your heart and its behavior pattern. You will become less fearful of the appearance of evil. You will think yourself out of the danger of hell, laying aside the burden of the cross life. You will save yourself from difficult duties in order to leave for yourself more time for the enjoyment of that thing which brings you excitement.

When, in these last days, you allow yourself to be entrapped with the snare of being excited about any one thing, more than your being drawn to the feet of Christ, you will harden your heart to the foolishness of preaching. You will not desire to hear truth preached with Holy Ghost conviction. Isaiah 59:4 says, “Truth is fallen in the street,” because individuals do not have an ear to hear what the spirit is saying.

When we become dull in our hearts and dull in our joy for the Lord, we lose our strength to fight, our strength to stand, our strength to persevere. Jesus said, “How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chicks under her wings, and ye would not!” (and what are the results?) “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matthew 23:37-38) Oh, that we would not miss the call to gather unto Him.

The Remnant Will Refuse To Be Hindered

The call to gather unto Him is going forth. As Eliezar looked for a bride for Isaac, so is the Holy Spirit gathering a bride unto Jesus. When Rebekah heeded the call to be the bride of Isaac, she responded to her relatives by saying, “I will go.” (Genesis 24:58)

Those who will be gathered unto the person of Christ in these last days, will refuse to be hindered. They will guard against their “Lord, Lord” being only sounding cymbals and tinkering brass. They will not be among those “who are ever learning, but are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2Timothy 3:7) Their heart’s desire will be to hunger and thirst for Jesus Christ. God will fill their hearts with intimacy and communion as He gathers them unto Himself. “O, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy. And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirst their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distress. And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. Oh that we would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for his wonderful work to the children of men! For He satisfieth the longing soul and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” (Psalms 107:1-9)

When the prodigal son returned home from wasting his inheritance, the father gathered the servants together to rejoice. He said, “bring the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry.” So great was the rejoicing at that gathering, that the elder son drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. There will be a great rejoicing among those in these last days who respond to the gathering unto Jesus.

In the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus said, “at midnight there was a cry made, behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him.” Oh, what a gathering that was as the give wise virgins responded to the call. Responding to that cry meant no more sleeping, no more waiting, no more silence, but an awakening to be gathered unto that person, Jesus Christ.

As I pray for the congregation here in our church, I believe God for a holy desire to fill the heart of every saint, to be gathered to an intimacy with Jesus. Let us rise and be drawn to the feet of Jesus Christ. “Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the heathen to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.” (Psalms 106:47) God is gathering a holy remnant unto Himself these final days.

“Our God shall come and shall not keep silence, a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather my saints together unto Me.” (Psalms 50:3-5) “Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly. Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that such the breasts; Let the bridegroom go forth of His chamber, and the bride out of her closet.” (Joel 2:15-16)

I pray that you will be among those in these last days coming out of the closet. Heed the call, respond to the knock, and be gathered unto the person of Jesus Christ. Allow Jesus Christ to be the joy of your heart once again.