Sluice Box Adventures
Believing Bible Study in the 21st century
Come Before Winter
The two thousand years Israel has been “forsaken” is to the LORD but “a small moment”.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."
Come Before Winter!
Old Paths Baptist Mission © 2017 Richard St.James
3. Bringing the Cold
I feel the cold. Can you feel it? It is cold out there! Brrrr, brrr!
There is a north wind blowing across all our land.
Could the reason be because of the distance we have put between us and God? We gave God the shove years ago! We thought of God as being unreasonable.
Why is this so? This is so because our hearts became “hardened” to hearing God. This hardening of our hearts occurred in the process of time because as a people [like Israel] we chose not to believe in the LORD! “Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.” [2 Kings 17:14]
But what saith HE? “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” [Isaiah 1:18]
Yes, the children once laughed and played on the clean sidewalks of the streets of the United States of America. I was one of those children!
Those were the days when the sun still shined brightly amidst the white clouds as they moved so serenely across the face of azure blue skies. I remember those days so well!
Those were times when the simply built neighborhoods we plied as children were found so neat and clean and safe. There was then a remnant of restraint to sin in our land.
But then we went to war on God, and got rid of God’s BOOK to our own hurt!
• The Supreme Court, in Engel v. Vitale, decided to strike out against school prayer (June 25, 1962). The goal was to get rid of God in our public schools. It began to get cold!
• On June 17, 1963, in Abington v. Schempp and Murray v. Curlett, the Supreme Court made it illegal to read the Bible in the public schools. [This was done without regard to any historical or legal precedent.] In this decision, “Bible reading” was considered psychologically damaging. The north wind was beginning to blow. The chill was coming on!
• With Dekalb v. DeSpain  the decision was to not even allow the “Ten Commandments” to be posted in the public schools of our land. Children had no right to see “The Ten Commandments” posted on the wall of the school telling them not to lie, cheat or steal! The north wind was picking up. The chill was felt!
• And if that was not enough, in 1980, with Stone v. Graham, the Supreme Court decided that the word of God could not even be mentioned in a public school. [This was a long, long way, may I remind you, from our beginnings as a nation.] The north wind was blowing and we have gotten cold.
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” [Matthew 24:12]
It is cold out there.
Now for a wakeup concerning the moment of our time. There is a necessity for being reminded of the brevity of our life.
4. The Shortness of Life
Life is short, and it is filled with trouble. Have you ever noticed this?
We are here for only a little while, and then we are gone: “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.” [Job 14:1-2]
We had better make our life count, because we have opportunity for only one shot at it. [We had better consider the consequences of our decisions too!]
We have a choice. Either we can go the route of the wicked and enjoy sin for a season, or we can go the route of the righteous, and put our trust in GOD: “That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?” [Job 20:5] “They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.” [Job 21:13]
That is where we are all heading!
This body is destined to rot and be fed to the worms: “The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.” [Job 24:20] And since we are this tri-part being, our soul will drop down into the pit where the Devil is going to be. [Isaiah 14:15]
We will all in a certain moment die. “In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.” [Job 34:20]
We are also like grass! Why is this so? This is so because the Spirit of God says it is so: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” [Isaiah 40:7-8] [See also 1 Peter 1:24.]
The grass dies, but God’s word “shall stand for ever”.
Here is another basic truth of life. Not only are we grass, but we are also prone to trouble. We are born to trouble! It is … as it says it is … in the Scripture: “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.” [Job 14:1-2]
Now, seeing all these things are most certainly true, we had better accomplish the purpose of our life before the winter of our life comes to pass.
The message to us is therefore … Come before winter!!!
5. Come Before Winter
The apostle Paul sensed [by the Spirit of God] that he was nearing the winter of his life. He knew “the time” of his “departure” was “at hand”. He knew that he was ready to embark on the trip northward through the sky, through the great expanse of the crystal sea, to be evermore in the presence of Jesus Christ, Who is the Son of God.
[“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)]
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
My friend, are you ready, like Paul was? Are you keeping “the faith”? Will you love “his appearing”? These are the questions that I am constrained by the gospel of Jesus Christ to ask of you.
I myself am ready to go!!!
Now, I must turn my thoughts to something else ... even to a people,
to the Jewish nation.
For the nation of Israel … winter is coming. Winter is even upon them. The “great tribulation” is very near! Their Messiah even prophesied this of them, while he was here on this earth nearly two thousand years ago, that a “great tribulation” was coming to them. “But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” [Matthew 24:20-21] [See also Mark 13:18-19.]
Soon they will hear the LORD speak to them. They will hear these words: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” [Isaiah 26:20]
The LORD will indeed hide them [“nourished for a time, and times, and half a time”] in “the wilderness” [Revelation 12:14]. Prophecy will be fulfilled for Israel! Count on it! “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.” [Isaiah 54:7] The two thousand years Israel has been “forsaken” is to the LORD but “a small moment”.
For the rest of the world, the moment of the great winter is almost here. The time of this winter will bring a long, long night [spiritually]. When the night comes … all work will cease … for the “harvest” will be complete.
When the Son of God was here [4033-6 AM, 4743-6 JP, 30-33 AD] we had “the light” and the work of the “harvest” was still yet before us. The LORD said: “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” [John 4:35b]
Then, HE foretold us of a time when the “night cometh”: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” [John 9:4-5] We have just a moment to work before winter comes.
Though some things last for only a moment and then are gone, there will be some things that will last forever. The Bible reveals those things that endure forever. The Bible gives us sight concening these things.
These are things that will last forever:
• The “great” King’s mercy! “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” [1 Chronicles 16:34]
• The “great” King’s truth! “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” [Psalm 100:5]
• The “great” King’s righteousness! “His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.” [Psalm 111:3]
• The “great” King’s judgments! “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” [Psalm 119:160]
• The “great” King’s word! “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” [1 Peter 1:25]
It is the things that will endure forever that ultimately will be found to be the only things that really matter. It behooves us, therefore, to work while there is time to work. Follow Jesus Christ’s example!
Go for the souls of men! “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” [Matthew 4:19]
Go for it! Peradventure the LORD will open their eyes to whom we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ: “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;” [2 Timothy 2:25]
Therefore, we need to preach the word even when it is “out of season”. For the time is even upon us when no one will be willing to “endure [HEAR] sound doctrine.”
Do the “work of an evangelist” NOW before winter comes, and before the time of our “departure” is at hand. Fight a good fight, and keep “the faith”. The time is short!
From the sides of the north there is a wind blowing, bringing the cold with the warning of the shortness of life. Winter is coming!
If you are not already saved, come now to Jesus Christ and put your
trust in HIM “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the
knowledge of the truth.” [1 Timothy 2:4]
Come now! Come before winter!
“Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.” [2 Timothy 4:21]
Come before winter!
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.
Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.”