By: Nelson Walters
Author: Are We Ready For Jesus? How to Prepare for His Return (May 2015)
Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. (Matt. 25: 10 NASB)
Being ready for Jesus’ return should be the central focus of the Church as we approach the “Time of the End.” (See ARE WE LIVING IN THE TIME OF THE END?) But what does ready mean and how are we going to do accomplish it?
Jesus gave us many specifics on how to prepare. I assembled them in the soon-to-be-released book, Are We Ready For Jesus? What takes a book length treatment to discuss, we can’t go over in a single post. But how do we even get the word out to the Church Universal that is currently fast asleep? Has Jesus already given us the model in Luke 9 and 10?
We were given the ministry Ready For Jesus Ministries to accomplish just that.: to awaken a sleeping church and help them prepare for the return of their King. Some of you may already be volunteers in the ministry. We are gaining a staggering 100 volunteers a month. (Praise the Lord, only the Holy Spirit could be gathering his workers at that rate) . For those of you who are not yet involved, if after reading this post, the Lord may call you to join. You can either subscribe at the top, left of the page or you can email me personally at:
HOW WILL WE AWAKEN THE CHURCH?
Why do we need to be sending out workers into our churches? Shouldn’t we be sending workers to the unsaved? Of course the unsaved need salvation! This has always been so and is a critical element of getting ready for Jesus. Our churches, however, are mostly asleep. They need to wake up first, and then begin the task of preparing themselves and the unsaved for the Lord.
The key to awakening a church is awakening its pastors. If a pastor doesn’t think its necessary to prepare for Jesus’ return then the congregation won’t prepare. But awakening a pastor is a very, very difficult task. Most pastors are a product of their denomination, their seminary education, their colleagues, and what they think their congregation wants to hear. A large majority of pastors are not currently interested in getting their congregations ready for Jesus’ return.
The book Are We Ready For Jesus? was written with the expressed purpose of awakening the Church and especially its pastors. The information within it is presented in a special order and the examples were specifically written to help gently open eyes to the what we need to do as a Church. Hopefully the Holy Spirit will use this book.
Ready For Jesus Ministries has a simple game plan. Place the book in the hands of as many pastors as possible, encourage them to read it, and then support the churches with additional education once the pastor is on board. We are utilizing the model Jesus gave us in Luke 9 and 10. First “messengers” visit pastors and give them a copy of the book and a video link. The six minute video will encourage the pastor to read the book. Then the Holy Spirit takes over. Hopefully the pastor opens the book and hopefully the scriptures in the book will speak to the pastor about the urgent need to prepare his flock. After this, if the pastor desires, teachers can come to his church and host a workshop weekend for his congregation on issues the pastor may desire assistance with.
It is a simple model.
JESUS SENDS OUT HIS WORKERS
Let’s look at the scriptures that support this approach. At the end of Luke 9, we see that the time was drawing near for Jesus to go to Jerusalem to accomplish his mission of laying down his life and rising again. Prior to his going to Jerusalem he sent out “messengers” to all the towns along his route. Then he sent out 72 disciples, two by two. Finally Christ himself came to the town. This passage shows the sending of the messengers.
Now when the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set out resolutely to go to Jerusalem. He sent messengers on ahead of him. (Luke 9: 51-52 NET, emphasis mine)
Jesus is preparing to come again (to Jerusalem!) and he is sending out messengers ahead of his coming. (You and I may be some of them.) He has specific requirements of those he is sending out in advance of his coming, however, he wants messengers who are wholly committed to his cause:
As they were walking along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens and the birds in the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Jesus said to another, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say goodbye to my family.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9: 57-62 NET)
Jesus sounds unusually harsh in these verses. but he is not. The burial he refers to was probably the ceremonial burial of “bones” months or years after the original death. The “good-bye” to family, likewise could have been a prolonged party. Jesus is clear that his messengers need to be committed to him.
After the messengers, Jesus sent 72 disciples. The messengers prepared the way, these disciples were more like evangelists and teachers.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him two by two into every town and place where he himself was about to go. He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. (Luke 10: 1-2 NET. emphasis mine)
IMO, this is the model we need to be implementing right now. As a church we need to be sending messengers first, followed by teachers and evangelists probably sent two by two. And we need to be praying for the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into his field.
Will all churches be open to preparing? Obviously not. Look at the advice of Jesus for his first century disciples:
Whenever you enter a town and the people welcome you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in that town and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come upon you!’ But whenever you enter a town and the people do not welcome you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this: The kingdom of God has come.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town! (Luke 10: 8-12 NET, emphasis mine)
So my advice is to not despair if a church is not receptive (even if it is your own church). God is calling and awakening those he chooses. Look at what Jesus says after the teachers and evangelists return.
Then the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!” So he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”(Luke 10: 17-18 NET)
Satan falling like lightening from heaven is something that happens in the end times, at the midpoint of the Tribulation period. (See MIDPOINT OF THE TRIBULATION: HEAVEN’S PERSPECTIVE) The first question we must ask is: could human beings help cause Satan to fall? Look what Revelation tells us:
The accuser of our brethren (Satan) has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (Rev. 12: 10-11 NASB, clarification mine)
We can see that it is believers who help cast Satan down even though it is Michael and his Holy Angels who do the casting. Their belief in Jesus, their testimony, and their self sacrifice (even unto death) is the essence of the spiritual warfare. How this occurs is a great mystery but the fact God allows us to participate in Satan’s fall is amazing.
In Luke 10, was Jesus looking into the future and prophesying about this event? Almost assuredly. Was he prophesying about ministries in the end times who send out messengers and teachers as we suggested for this ministry. Yes he was. Although we can’t know that we are part of this divine “army,” it certainly fills me with excitement to think we might be.
ARE WE QUALIFIED FOR THIS WORK?
The first question everyone asks when considering this ministry is: am I qualified? Let’s see what Jesus had to say:
On that same occasion Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children.” (Luke 10: 21 NET)
If you feel unqualified you are probably the perfect candidate for the job! I think God prefers to use “little children” for his work. (See AN UNLIKELY CHOICE)
WILL YOU JOIN US?
So the question is: will you join us? Several of us have been fasting and praying about you and this ministry. If you feel the Lord calling you to this ministry and want to get involved, you can either subscribe at the top, left of the page or you can email me personally at:
It a simple yet profound ministry: awakening the churches of the Lord.