It’s five minutes to midnight on the clock of human history. You must be certain that your eternity is settled because time is running out.
In Jesus’ parable of the Vineyard Owner, a final offer to idle men is made at the eleventh hour. (Matthew 20:1-16) One way of defining eleventh hour is the last possible moment before it is too late. The phrase itself is found only in the Bible in this parable. Most preachers consider the lesson of this parable one of equal rewards regardless of when a worker enters employment; early or late. It’s a relief knowing that heaven in available to those who come to relationship with Christ later in life and not just for those who began ministry before puberty.
The practical message of the parable is the implied warning to those who ride the fence, foolishly believing there is a third option between God and Not God. Did you notice that no man was offered employment more than once? The Vineyard owner specifically asked why workers were idle. “Because no one hired us.” The Holy Spirit offers employment in the form of relationship with Jesus Christ. If work is refused there will be no second offer.
The timeline of human history is nearing its end. Expect no more prophetic embellishments. The beginning of judgment has arrived. Unstop your ears and listen for the still small voice calling you to the fold. The call is not necessarily one of geography, but a call to return to your first love, to repent, to abstain from immorality, to associate with the brethren and spiritually separate yourself from Jezebel and her kind.
The Measure of Faith
Many insist that the door to the Vineyard remains open until the last moment before pay is distributed. “As long as you repent and accept Christ before your final breath you’re good” they say. Who are “they” that you trust your eternity to what “they” teach? That isn’t what Jesus said. According to the parable you have until the moment employment is offered. Offers stop at the eleventh hour. We’re nearly there.
How do you know if you’ve been swayed by false teaching? Are you certain that what you believe is based on God’s Word and not the words of men? There is only one practical measurement to accurately gauge faith in Jesus Christ. It is a test reserved for personal use, not for assessing anyone else.
The measurement is FEAR.
Just as two forms of matter cannot occupy a finite space at the same time, faith and fear cannot simultaneously occupy any part of your spirit. When faith moves in fear moves out and vice versa. If you harbor any fear at all your faith is not yet perfected. Few, if any, will experience perfect faith in a mortal body, yet the majority of Christ-followers seem to have plenty of fear. That’s a concern.
Fear is washed away when the fire hose of the Spirit replaces it with faith. Faith and the peace that passes all understanding join together in an unbreakable bond. The proof of your faith is the degree of peace in your heart. (Hebrews 11:1)
“That day” has arrived
“And in that day…” The day has arrived. From social justice to salvation, people line up on one side of the line separating God from Not God. Both sides accuse the other of error, intolerance, delusion, and often evil itself. How can you know which side to join?
Discipleship is not angry, militant, boastful, insecure, demanding, or punitive. Followers of Christ do not cover their ears with their hands and demand that all dissenting voices be silenced. Fear rules the heart of those standing on one side of the line; faith and peace reigns in the hearts of those on the other side – the side standing with the King of Kings. You must choose sides. You must choose today.
Originally published November 2015
Edited for this website February 2017.