Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

I Believe, Do You?

 
 
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: "There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ " Then the Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:1-8 NKJV)
 
Storming Heaven
The faithful fervent prayer of a righteous man or woman is effective.  The Lord tells us that.  So, I have always wondered why we need to have people all over the world praying for us and why do we need to continue repeating our prayers over and over.  I still don’t know the answers to those questions, but this parable seems to encourage that kind of praying.  The elect must be the saved and it appears that they continue to cry to the Lord day and night.  While the answer to their prayer seems to be delayed, when it comes it will come quickly (speedily).  We need to continue to pray individually and collectively for those things that are burdens to us, and we should not give up by thinking that the Lord is an unjust judge who does not care.  If an unjust judge will respond to repeated and fervent requests, surely the Lord who is not unjust will answer in time as well.  And we will do that only if we believe that we are praying to a LIVING Savior. 
 
Will the Lord find those who are Faithful when He Comes?
The resurrection of Christ is called the first fruits; therefore, I assume a full crop is going to follow after the first fruits are reaped.  It is that confidence that gives the sorrow of a funeral a little glimmer of joy.  If a person who dies is saved, they have entered spiritually into a resurrected life the moment that they believed.  In John 5:24, the Lord says, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”  Is passed!  Already!  In addition, for those who die as believers in Christ, they are awaiting the coming bodily resurrection of life for those who have fallen asleep.  1 Corinthians 15:20 tells us, “But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  Sleep is a beautiful thing and dead believers are pictured in Scripture as having fallen asleep.  I understand that the body is sleeping since the person inside the body is now fully conscious in the presence of the Lord.  Those who are left behind grieve, but those who have died as believers “have it made.”  I believe that, do you?
 
Today, in my congregation, we celebrated the resurrection of the Lord.  We did not honor the pagan goddess after whom the day is named.  We did not celebrate (at least in the church setting) the fertility symbols of the pagan world.  We did remember the Lord.  And as we did that, we did proclaim His death until He comes.  He wouldn’t be able to come again if He hadn’t risen from the dead. But He is coming again.  I believe that, do you?
 
The Fiery Darts of the Wicked One
If we really believe in a living resurrected Lord, we would pray like the widow who prayed to the unjust judge.  We would keep at it until we got an answer.  We would not be satisfied with the “no” answer that we often say can be an answer to prayer.  We would want the “yes” answer.  But do we really believe in the power of prayer as we pray to a living Savior?  Some days I must admit that I have my doubts that the Lord is going to answer prayers that I know are in His will (because they are in accordance with the promises of Scripture).  I pray in the Lord’s name, that is, I pray according to the authority He has given us in Scripture.  But even though I have seen miraculous answers to prayer, sometimes I wonder if I will ever see another one.  These doubts are called the fiery darts of the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16).  I suspect that is why the Lord asks if there will be faith (that is, faithfulness) when He returns.  Specifically, will people be praying to Him expectantly and continuously and fervently?  This is important because He says, “For "WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED (Romans 10:13 NKJV).”  The next verse makes it clear that we don’t call (or pray) to get saved in this passage but we do it because we are saved.  Believing or having complete confidence in Him and His promises is what saves.  That confidence is seen in our prayer life.
 
But when we stand by a casket, many of us have had another fiery dart hit us.  We have silently wondered, “Is that all there is?  Is this person enjoying the presence of the Lord in heaven or are they just a blob of clay that is going to be placed back into the earth?”   It makes no logical sense to assume that death is the end and not the beginning.  Yet that is what Satan, the great deceiver, wants us to believe.  But then we remember that the Lord was seen by Mary Magdalene, by two on the road to Emmaus, by the disciples in the upper room, by Thomas who needed reassurance, and then by over 500 witnesses at one time.  And then we come back to our senses and realize that facts don’t lie.  The Lord doesn’t lie. Satan lies. 
 
So, Whom are we Going to Believe?
Paul said on a journey that had gotten into trouble, “Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me (Acts 27:25 NKJV).”  And what Paul had been told by God came to pass.  Will the Lord find faith (or faithfulness) on earth when He returns?  Will we be holding confidently to the joy and hope of the resurrection?  I believe that the Lord was raised from the dead, do you?  Because of that I intend to continue in faithful fervent prayer, and I will continue to believe that death is not the end, it is just the beginning.
 
Bruce Collins
 
Meditation for the week of April 21, 2019
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