By Andrew B. D. Urshan
It is an evident fact that we are living in the last days of this dispensation, and that some glorious and also terrible things are ahead of us to take place very soon.
all things that are godly, pure and Christ like, are heading up into one, even in Him, who is the soon King, and all things that are evil, hypocritical and devilish are heading up into the coming incarnate devil, the Anti-Christ.
Gigantic battle is almost to burst forth both in the air and on the earth, of which not only the Spirit of prophecy is foretelling and calling our attention to it, but even the scientific men of the world are tremblingly proclaiming it.
It is also sad but true, that the ungodly are growing worse, the nominal Christians are turning fast to infidelity, and the true believers are growing careless and worldly, loving pleasure more than God and are shunning the cross on every hand.
The principle denominational churches are now a band of society and social people, trying to keep the faith by the human organizations and influences. Practically the most of us are lovers of self. Hence, “perilous times.”
We hear from everywhere of the religious perils, people backsliding by crowds. Others being controlled by a spirit of backbiting, judging and condemning one another, fast losing confidence in each other; and the result is, many are as it were up in the air and discouraged, don’t know what to do and where to turn.
The great need of this terrible hour of test and trials is WATCHING and PRAYING. This is not our own religious invention, but the infallible words of Him who is “The only wise God our Saviour,” who, so graciously has warned us long, ahead of time, when He said, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be over charged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the son of Man” Luke 21:34-36.
Three things our Lord has mentioned for us to beware of in the above scriptures; first – “surfeiting.” The excess of eating and drinking, or to be fed till the system is oppressed. In one word gluttonous. This was one of the marked sins of the people in Noah’s time. It is said that “they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that he entered into the ark.” God is not against eating and drinking, but He is against excess of eating, drinking and fulfillment of the lust of the flesh. There seems to be a strong spirit of gluttoness in the very air which forces us, even God’s people to be excess in their private indulgences. Our Saviour says we must watch against this excess living, and pray always lest we become victims of eating and drinking like those of whom Paul said. “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame who mind earthly things.” If you and I think and talk more than praying about eating, etc. We are already overcome by that excess, and we must begin at once to fast and pray, that God may not only forgive us, but also fill us with His own mind, that we may be of those who possess and do these things, yet they are so lost in God, they feel as if they had nothing but God Himself.
So many of God’s people are sick now days and most of them have some kind of stomach trouble; eating too much of pastry, candy, and drinking much of tea and coffee is the main cause.
We have been surprised time and again when we have called fasting in our revival meetings, when some saints confess that they had never fasted before, though being Christians for 30 to 40 years. Why is that? Because the wrong teaching of some, who pretend to know the grace of God, they teach because they are not saved by works, therefore, they are avoiding the works which were ordained before the foundation of the world for us to walk therein. Let us beware of turning the grace of God into lasciviousness.
True, we are not saved by our works, but we are saved from gluttoness if we are saved at all. Read the book of Acts, and you will see that the church fasted good many times.
While we do not sympathize at all with the doctrine of the devils which prohibits marriage and eating, (1 Timothy 4:1-6) yet we are glad to reverence the teaching of our Lord against surfeiting, and we ourselves are on watch against it: we therefore wish our readers also do the same, and spend more time in prayer instead of on afternoon tea or coffee.
The “drunkenness,” is the next word against which our Lord asks us to watch and pray. Drunkenness in this text does not necessarily mean only being filled with strong drinks, but can be applied to all things that possess our hearts, minds and time. A drunkard, generally speaking is the one who is filled with wine until he is overcome by it, but to be filled with the love of money, pleasure, reputation and pride, is just as bad as drunkenness as that of whiskey. God has said not drunkard can inherit the Kingdom of God; for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Let us therefore be drunk with nothing but only be filled with the Holy Spirit, that we may be able to stand in the presence of the Son of Man when He comes. Therefore, to pray always fervently with watchfulness against all drunkenness, is the way to be filled with the Spirit and be ready for Christ’s coming.
Now we are to take the last sentence against which we must watch and pray, namely, “And cares of this life.” Our Lord forsaw the hard times of our day. He knew in these last days people would become mostly self-lovers and greedy, gathering wealth and keeping it to themselves, therefore famines and high cost of all things. Such conditions existing naturally cause great anxiety for future and the fear of coming poverty hence care of this life.” Yes, this is one of the special temptations before us which causes us to shut the bowels of mercy from one another, and our dear and needy missionaries feel it keenly in the foreign lands. They are writing letters crying for a helping hand, but very few are responding to their cry. Those who send money, are doing it from the abundance and not sacrificing their own comfort. Thousands have money and property who can sell and can send hundreds to them, but “the cares of this life,” the fear for future is stopping them. Our Lord says we must repent from this evil of mistrusting Him for supplying us, and get filled with His love casts out fear for future and sell all to give to our poor brethren that we may be able to stand before Him who is coming soon with His reward to give every man according to his works.
It is indeed hard, yea, very hard to overcome these three evils confronting us daily; we feel our weakness to face them and that, victoriously. We are found light when weighed in God’s scale if we honestly admit it; yes, we are often guilty of eating and drinking too much, sometimes overcharged with some kind of drunkenness and also have become stingy because of the cares of this life. What shall we do? The Lord’s coming is at hand! To be ready to meet Him with joy we must. Then what is the need of this evil hour? How can we escape these three fundamental evils? The dear Lord graciously has given us the remedy, namely.
“Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and cares of this life, and so that day comes upon you unawares. For as a snare it shall come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. WATCH ye therefore, and PRAY always.”
THE DIVINE REMEDY
1st. “Take heed to yourselves.” Take cautions, observe and look with care at your own selves. We naturally are busy observing other’s actions instead of ourselves. Apostle Paul says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” It remains to many of us to repent yet from watching the short comings of our fellow-men and begin to take heed to ourselves, and see if already our hearts are overcharged with both the forgoing evils.
In Syriac translation the word “overcharged” is “heavy-weighted.” We hear from many saints complaining against a heaviness upon their hearts that hinders them from freedom of prayer and praise. It is against this heaviness which comes by being under burden and worries of these fleshly desires, our Lord warns us to take heed.
Let us leave the other folks alone and let us get busy taking heed to ourselves that we may never be found “at any time” overweighted by worldly things, but have His yoke upon us and bearing His burden that we may have His blessed eternal rest.
2nd. We are not only exhorted to take heed to Ourselves, but also to “watch.” Watching is to be on the alert always lest these three mentioned evils come upon us from other people. That means separation from all parties, societies and even so-called Christians who are living careless and a lukewarm life. It means when you are invited for a dinner, don’t let people force you to eat drink the things that you know are not good for you. It means that you should not fellowship the people who are pleasure seekers and drunk with it, for soon they will make you to be filled with the same things.
It means that after all, you shouldn’t have much to do with stingy folks and the lovers of money; but watch and carefully if you are standing true to Christ’s Spirit within you and doing such things that are pleasing in His While thus watching, be sure that above all you will :ay always.
3rd. “And pray always.” “Pray without ceasing.” Always pray and faint not.” Why should we pray always? Because that is the only way of getting in close touch with Him who alone can enable us to be free from surfeiting, drunkenness and care of this life. Because God knows that dust we are and He knows our weak frame. He alone can keep us temperate in all things and keep us from falling. He being tempted in all things can help us in the most severe hour of our daily trials.
We must pray again, because a praying heart which appeal to God’s mercy is a humble attitude in the sight of God: such attitude obtains always mercy and grace to the humble. God not only forgives our surfeiting, drunkenness and cares of this life when we humbly confess them, but He also can cleanse us from all such excess and instead, He will fill us with hunger and thirst after righteousness and a passion for the lost humanity, yea, with a burning love to the blessed appearing of our great God. Therefore let us pray. Let us give ourselves to prayer and let us pray always.
Finally—In taking heed to ourselves with watching and praying always, we will find grace before God like Noah of old and will be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and will make us stand with joy before the Son of Man.
If our gracious Lord had said, “Ye are worthy,” then we would have taken it for granted that our good works are the only means of our salvation. But the inspired language is plain, that the works alone cannot save; that is why our Lord says, “That ye may be counted worthy to escape.”
The word “counted,” signifies Grace. That is to say, while we take God’s exhortation to heart and begin to become temperate and charitable, avoiding surfeiting, drunkenness and cares of this hope to be delivered from the wrath of God which shall be poured upon the earth at His great appearance, because we trust His love unto us who love His appearing.
So to be temperate in all things we must, to cast our cares on Him and resist cares of this life from capturing our hearts we must, but to trust God and His grace to count us worthy of escape we must also. Hence the exhortation of the apostle to Titus as recorded in Titus 2:11-15. Let us dear ones then, take heed to ourselves. Let us watch and pray and let us trust in God who answers prayers, and it shall be well with us. So the supreme need of the hour is Prayer! Prayer! Prayer!
It was while our Lord was praying that His garments suddenly turned white as snow. This was a foreglimpse of the translation of His people. It will be while we separate ourselves from the present day spirit of excess and worldly indulgences, giving ourselves continually to prayers we too, suddenly will be changed by the power of Christ within us, and it will give us a Heavenly flight to escape the horrible things which soon shall come upon the whole earth.
Let us be sure that we neglect not private, family and public prayers and do what we read in the following verse. “And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple; and at night He went out, and abode in the mountain.” Amen.
The above article, “Supreme Need of the Hour,” is excerpted from the sixth chapter of Andrew B. D. Urshan’s book, The Supreme Need of the Hour.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.