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12:16 PM   [04 Sep 2016 | Sunday]

Defining the End Times

 Everyone has some view of the end times.  While there may be merits to those views, some have actually hindered the Gospel and interfered with personal growth.  It is important to allow God to define everything that pertains to them, including the whens.  We don't stop doing what Jesus commanded us to do just because some things seem to fit our eschatology (study or theology of the end times).  Jesus said, "We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming when no man can work" (John 9:4).  It is still day, for today is the day of salvation (see 2 Corinthians 6:2).

Here's an example: many point out the Bible said there would be a great falling away before the day of the Lord.

  • Question, can we honestly define when that takes place.  Some contend we're seeing that right now.  Are you sure?  

There's been periods of falling away throughout history.  Where did the Dark Ages come from?  There are some who certainly have fallen away in our current time, but does that mean this is the "great falling away?"  Jesus talked of wars and rumors of wars, but that is not the end.  Furthermore, He said that there would be famines and earthquakes in various places, but He also said these were the beginning of birth pangs (see Matthew 24:4-8).  Yet, we find in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, "While they are saying peace and safety, then destruction will come upon them suddenly . . ."

  • Is anyone saying, "Peace and safety," yet?  Hardly.  

Even if there was a mass exodus from the Church, does that mean we should stop making disciples?  Interestingly, 1 John 4:18 says, "Children it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour."  So, if it was the last hour in John's day, how do we know for certain the great falling away is upon us now?
It's easy to become pessimistic, and write off everyone in the world.  It sure appears that 2 Timothy 3:1-9 is coming to pass before our very eyes.  Yes, it is quite dark in the world, but can darkness prevail over the Light?   Romans 5:20 But where sin increased , grace abounded all the more (NASB).  For some reason, some give the devil and his minions more power than they actually have.  In some cases, they lend their power to the devil.  The enemy knows that he's been stripped of his power and authority, so he uses deception to get us to agree with him.  He knows that we have power and authority in Jesus Christ, and he tries to stop us from walking in them by influencing our belief system and worldview.  Satan attacks our identity, so we become faithless and ineffective for the Kingdom.  He would have us believe darkness prevails over light.  How many people have  you seen shrug their shoulders, and give up on advancing the Kingdom?   Have you not read, "Greater is He Who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)?

  •    Keep in mind that darkness promotes hopelessness.  

The darker the world, the more hopelessness people of the world carry with them.  They're starving for hope, which means their hearts are open to hear the Gospel which is the Word of hope.  The harvest is ripe for the picking.  If believers would look up, they would see the harvest field.  If they would look to Him who lives in them, they could reap in that field.  Those with hope have influence.  Let hope arise in your heart, and influence those around you.  Will everyone be saved?  Even though it's the will of God, not everyone will.  However, a lot more would come to the Kingdom if we do our part.
Even though a number of people may want nothing to do with God, they may want your lifestyle.  If you live well in Jesus Christ, they will mimic your actions.  One illustration would be your treating them well may cause them to to want to treat others well; at least, better than they do now.  Your example can become contagious.  How many are influenced by the media?  In a sense, those behind it are disciplining large segments of society.  They shape  or at least influence worldviews by the way they present life.  For example, they report the news in a certain light that causes people to form certain opinions about what or whom they are reporting.  They lace TV shows and movies with hidden agendas.  Of course, at the opportune time, they become more blatant.  If we fail to engage society by staying in the four walls of our churches, how are we going to make disciples of people in nations, let alone nations themselves (see Matthew 28:19).  As long as you're in the world, be the light Jesus called you in Matthew 5:14.  He said, "Go"; not "stay."

  •    Anytime you find a principle in the Bible, you should see the example in action.

When you examine the lives of Joseph and Daniel, you'll see people who actually discipled heathen nations.  Not only that, they did it apart  from the New Covenant that we have.  For those who think disciples should disengage from government, you might want to rethink that viewpoint.  Examine what the Word actually says.  That's not to say everyone should get involved in the political arena; however, whatever opportunity the Lord opens to you should be taken.  Even if it's simply to vote.  Influence is influence, regardless of the level.  Of course, ask Him how to engage.  We cannot disengage society, hide in our basements while waiting for the Rapture, and say we are being obedient to the Great Commission!

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