Sunday, November 18, 2012

The End Times - 2

A couple of days ago my wife made an interesting comment to me about the times we live in.  I do not know exactly what the genesis was of her thought.  But, I do know that Pam tends to be extremely sensitive and discerning spiritually, and consequently I tend to take comments she makes like this quite seriously.

Pam knows the importance of reaching people who don't know Jesus, but she told me the other day that right now we need to focus on strengthening the body of Christ.  I told her that I thought strengthening the body is always important, in part because the best evangelism tool is a body of strong and mature believers.

Pam said she understood that, but that I was missing the point.  She said that people need to be strengthened right now not just to better equip them for service to God and to others, but for themselves.  You see, Pam's concern is much more fundamental than it first sounded to me.  Pam's concern is that we are entering into a time when there will be a further falling away from the church.  She sees the crisis of faith in America getting far worse!

There is no doubt that we live in a time in which the church has less and less significance in the United States, and therefore less and less significance in the lives of people.  By some estimates, only 25% of Americans attend church 2 to 3 times a month.  The other 75% rarely attend church, if at all.

The fact is that we live in a time when false teaching is enjoying unprecedented success.  The fastest growing religion in America these days is atheism -- which make no mistake is a religion.  According to a 2010 Newsweek article, around 80% of Americans believe that Jesus is not the only way to heaven. 

The more I have thought about Pam's comment, the more I think she is exactly right.  That doesn't mean that evangelism is any less important today than it has ever been.  It just means that there is a spiritual war going on, that the stakes have never been higher, and that it is time for us to truly put on the full armor of God.  See Ephesians 6:11.

We live in a time in which a watered down Gospel and the nominal Christian simply will not do.  An onslaught is coming, and the enemy is well prepared.  For this battle, we will need strong and confident people of faith, grounded in the Word and bathed in prayer.  

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. 16 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 17 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 18 Pray that this will not take place in winter, 19 because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. 20 If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. 21 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
24 “But in those days, following that distress,
“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
25 the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
26 “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Mark 13:5-31 (NIV)

No comments:

Blog Archive