Snatch them from the fire

Posted on 18 Aug 2019, Preacher: Rev. Dr. Ukoha Ukiwo

To the glory of God, ‘Running to win’ (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) is the glorious theme we have this month of August 2019. God wants his people to win. But it is not going to be easy. The devil is furious, knowing he has not much time to populate hell (Revelation 12:12).  The perilous times are here (2 Timothy 3:1-3). The Lord is intervening to ensure that the elect, are not consumed (Mark 13:13-20). So, He is sending His trusted servants to snatch them from the fire (Jude 1:23).  This message underscores why God in His mercy calls His faithful servants to snatch them from the fire and how the task can be accomplished.

Overcoming the Satanic threefold cord:
There is a call to snatch some from the fire because of the cohabitation of Christians with the world. Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers (Psalm 1:1). The life and times of Lot-who was snatched from the fire- shows the risks of cohabitation (Genesis 19:16-17; 2 Peter 2:6-8). Cohabitation with evil is dangerous because of the gradual, often imperceptible magnetic pull of evil.

What do we learn from Lot? In Genesis 13, we are told that Lot pitched his tent near Sodom. This suggests contiguity between Lot and the territory of the Sodomites. However, in Genesis 14, Lot was now living among the people of Sodom. He could not be distinguished from the Sodomites. Thus, when the raiding confederacy of four kings attacked and captured the people of Sodom, they also captured Lot because he looked every bit like the Sodomites.

If this was a warning for him to exit, the material pull was stronger making Lot to return to Sodom after his miraculous rescue by his uncle Abraham. This is because Lot was more interested in material wellbeing than in the health of his soul. What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul (Mark 8:36-38). In Genesis 19, we see that Lot had almost become stuck in Sodom. He had developed social ties with the Sodomites by becoming friends with them. So, another pull-the social pull- had set in. In order to keep the social ties, Lot was willing to compromise and handover his two daughters for gang rape by the Sodomites (Genesis19:4-9). Friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). Furthermore, Lot became more stuck because he had developed familial ties with the Sodomites. He had intermarried with the Sodomites-giving out his daughters to be married to the Sodomites (Genesis 19:12-14).

It is not surprising that Lot lingered and hesitated as the angels urged him to flee Sodom. A threefold cord cannot be easily broken! The material, social and familial cord were joined together to execute the satanic agenda of making Lot perish with the Sodomites.  Thank God that God’s mercy prevailed over Satan’s wrath. Lot was snatched from the fire that consumed the Sodomites by force. The Kingdom of God suffers violence and only the violent can take it by force (Matthew 11:12).

Applying the fivefold strategy for snatching from the fire: The Lord has given the strategy that His trusted ones must apply to snatch His people from the fire (2 Timothy 4:1-5). There is a lot to learn about how Nehemiah prevailed in his time (Nehemiah 13).

Teach them the ancient path:
In this 21st century when the church is modernizing and liberalizing, I am sending you to continue to teach them the ancient path. Teach them whether they want to hear or not (Jeremiah 6:16-17). Like Nehemiah, read the Scripture aloud to them for in the last days my people shall become dull of hearing.

Purge my altar of Satan’s agents:
In this day and age when my people have canonized Tobiah and given him room in my courts, I am sending you to throw Tobiah and his goods out, so my sanctuary would be purified. Nehemiah accomplished it. The Lord Jesus did it. My grace remains with you as a vessel I have ordained for the cleansing of my courts.

Rebuke them for neglecting their duties:
In this perilous times when the clergy and laity are neglecting their duties in the service of the kingdom — because they have become lovers of themselves rather than lovers of God, I am sending you to rebuke my people. For I am coming to rapture those who I meet serving diligently at their duty posts (Luke 12:42-48).

Warn them to stop dishonouring me:
In this age of globalisation, when the fear of God is rare and the world society is taking God for granted, warn my people to desist from dishonouring me. I am coming for the church that honours me and serves me with fear and trembling (Psalm 2:11; Philippians 2:12).

Discipline those in living in immorality:
In this postmodernist era when the truth is said to be relative — as there is no King in Israel and every man does what he likes (Judges 21:25), I am sending you to still help bring back discipline in my church. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid of their faces (Jeremiah 1:8). Continue to beat them with the rod of my mouth (Proverbs 23:13-14; Isaiah 11:4; Revelation 19:15). For I am coming for a church without spot and wrinkle (Ephesians 5:26-27).

Conclusion:
If you continue to do these things — snatching my people from the fire and saving them from my wrath to come — my covenant of peace with you in the order of Phinehas shall abide forever (Numbers 25:12). I will remember you and not blot out your faithful service to me and my house forever (Nehemiah 13:14). I, your God, will remember you and show you mercy and favour according to my great love (Nehemiah 13:22, 31).