If you read what he said in Matthew 24, he gave clear teaching on what it would be like in the end, but mainly so that we would be able to recognise what was happening, not to be troubled by the signs, but to get on with the task of publishing the gospel without being overly concerned with the peripherals of what was going on around us, and to give us an awareness of the kinds of conditions we would face as we went about his real task of ushering lost souls into the kingdom of heaven.
Times and seasons
I don’t think we should be ignorant of the times and seasons. We need to know what is happening, but there is so much confusion and hype about the end times that we could get bogged down in conspiracy theories, old wives tales, arguments over interpretation of doctrine, even to the extent of fighting one another over who is right and who is wrong.
Meanwhile the world goes to the dogs! False religions snap people up, Christians argue amongst themselves, the rumours of wars are of combat between sects, accusers are trained up by discerners, the Church gains a poor reputation, and Jesus becomes a byword instead of the only name that saves.
There is ample warning of what the conditions will be in the last days, but they are not given to us so that we can make some kind of ministry focus out of them, but, rather, so that we know what we will face from the world around us as we step out and preach the good news in the name of Jesus.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra–what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy Chapter 3
This entire chapter tells us how things will be, and, indeed are, but the actual focus is on the Church recognising worldliness, whilst following the right doctrine, pressing on through the tests, trials and temptations, remaining faithful and in faith, continuing in all that Paul taught, and adhering to the Scripture which completes us.
Fragmented by prejudice
The Church suffers because there’s too much emphasis on pointing out who the lovers of themselves, blasphemers and others mentioned in the second and third verses of this passage, and not enough on getting on with what God has called us to do. The Church has been split into so many fragments by this kind of illicit swordsmanship, which cuts its own into pieces whilst letting the world die in its sin instead of using the real sword of the Spirit to minister life into our community.
I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Biting and devouring one another, we are in danger of consuming one another. And isn’t that the state of the Church today in many ways? I don’t say we shouldn’t have strong discussions on doctrine, or debate issues and dilemmas which occur around Church life, but there is an accusative stance which has ruined the reputation and broken the world’s confidence in the Church to be able to truly represent Christ to them. They are not so much offended by Christ as by our own attitude towards each other in creating schisms and divisions with a pride which has nothing to do with Christ.
Web of intrigue
The internet has opened up the possibilities for spreading the Message far more effectively than ever before, yet so many sites have taken advantage of becoming global entities, and become hate sites for beating up on groups and ministries who are, in fact, on their own side, as if the Body of Christ is at war with itself, the finger poking the eye, and the foot kicking the spleen.
The Body is supposed to operate as one under the Head, not stumble around in the dark yelling at itself in a confused cacophony of ignorant chatter.
And the ridiculous conspiracy theories about who the antichrist is, and where he will appear, along with the whacky judgment prophecies, and the angry discernment ministries, as if that is really of any real importance to us, except to know that the antichrist is probably already in the earth, and that we need to urgently get the message of hope of the cross of Jesus out to as many people as we can before their lives are over and it’s too late for them, and, in terms of our watch, for us.
Why waste our precious time on distractions, when the unsaved are all around us? The devil is having a field day sowing seeds of confusion whilst we tinker around the edges and miss the main point, which is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
See that you are not troubled. These things will take place, but they are signs of the coming of the Christ. They signal the urgency of our task for this generation. We should know what the signs and seasons are, but work in the harvest with our eyes fixed on Christ.
Posted by steve