"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7).
It was the Feast of Tabernacles and Jerusalem was crowded with religious Jews from everywhere. Jesus spent two days teaching in the temple. He slept that first night on the Mount of Olives and rose early in the morning to begin His teaching. The big question in Jerusalem was, "Who is this man?" I wonder if His disciples became discouraged by all the unbelief and all the accusations of the scribes and Pharisees. I wonder if they said to Jesus, "It's hopeless. This city and this religious system have shut You out. Let's move on!"
Jesus predicted that the last days will be a time of unprecedented fear. His very words were: "Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken" (Luke 21:25-26).
Paul introduced the possibility of a fall into a satanic setup in his letters to Timothy. He understood the dangers of a satanic trap or snare: "...lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil" (1 Timothy 3:7). But he also gave us a recovery from that satanic trap: "...they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will" (2 Timothy 2:26).
Beloved, we are in a fierce war that is a life and death struggle for our faith. Satan is determined to shipwreck and destroy the faith of God's elect; and the stronger your faith, the greater will be his attack against it.
We are living in the days of final preparation. In heaven, in hell and on earth, tremendous activity is erupting as all of creation anticipates the culmination of man’s history.
If the Holy Spirit were to pull the scales from our eyes, we believers would be both joyful and horrified at what we'd see. We'd cry out, "What is going on? Why is everyone rushing about so determined, so intense? What are all these elaborate, mind-boggling preparations about? What's in the wind? What is about to happen?"
It is possible to walk before the Lord with a perfect heart! God said to Abraham, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect" (Genesis 17:1).
God also said to the children of Israel, "Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord your God" (Deuteronomy 18:13). David determined in his heart to obey this command. He said, "I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way.... I will walk within my house with a perfect heart" (Psalm 101:2).
To be sermon-proof is to hear God's Word, claim to love it, claim to obey it, but not act on it! It is to become so hardened, the heart is no longer moved and is totally unaffected by what is preached. Some call it "gospel-hardened." Think of all the old Bible stories and Bible characters. Who do you think was the most sermon-proof? Who sat under the clearest, strongest Word and was totally unaffected by it?
"For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.... Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 6:13,15, KJV).
"And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the Lord...and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. Lord, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, Lord, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God" (2 Kings 19:14-16, KJV).