25 Sep, 2010 Urgency of our times, Part II (Core Value #3)
Today I’ll carry on the thought from yesterday about urgency and the gospel, as it is related to end times prophecy (a topic many are scared of – see yesterdays blog). So, the next question would be…
…why do the prophecies exist?
- Firstly, they have given everyone through the last 2000 years an idea of what is coming, giving us all a basis for huge amount of long term hope…
- But, importantly, they exist so that final generation could recognise the fulfillments happening, and thus respond appropriately to them!
It is humbling to notice the attention given by Jesus to the point that people are left behind at the time when He ingathers believers (commonly called the rapture). It is as if Jesus was able, by Divine revelation, to look through the time scope of history and see what would happen. It is an application point that has true relevance to only one generation in an entire 2000 years of history (and what Jesus saw caused Him to give it great emphasis – we should note that). How does the Bible tell us to respond when we see things being fulfilled? NOT to predict dates… Rather it tell us to…
- live holy lives (‘be ready’ ‘prepare yourselves’ / be found to be right with God when He comes)
- preach the gospel while we have time (because its the near-end of the opportunity for this for all who remain).
(If you read the various Bible passages on end times for yourself, these two points basically sum it up). [See Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17 and 21, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, much in Daniel, parts in Ezekiel, end chapters in Zechariah, and all Revelation for the juiciest bits) These are the purposes, and right responses, to seeing fulfillments of Biblical prophecy take place! Aka: There is an urgency to things, spiritually speaking! My problem with a prevailing Christian view of Christ’s return / perceived lack of care for others I personally find the song “He is Lord… He has risen from the dead… Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess” a little depressing. As I stand there singing along, if my brain is actually working, I find myself even a little disturbed sometimes. While it is a song of rejoicing at our own great hope as Christians, if we believe the Bible, and every knee does therefore bow in recognition of Jesus at a future point in time, that will be the day of their judgment! How can we rejoice at that when we have loved ones who are unbelievers / skeptics about God’s existence or involvement in human affairs? Is anyone hearing me? My point is this: This ‘stuff’ about end times, and ‘every knee will bow’ should be motivating us to good works on earth – not merely our seemingly selfish rejoicing at our own good future prospects! That’s why this is going to be a Core Value for this ministry. An attitude of urgency in the spreading of the gospel is a reflection of godliness, faith and love.
For any missing the point here, many prophecies really do seem to be being fulfilled at this time (increases in wars, pandemics, fear of the seas, earthquakes… globalisation, nuclear capabilities, financial set ups, middle east tensions, potential sizes of armies, Israels nationhood, Jewish Temple plans, political alliances falling ‘correctly’ for specifically detailed battles, the ‘shape’ forming in the EU and UN as a reuniting of the ‘Roman Empire’ etc. etc. etc – these all fit biblical prophecy in amazing ways). Christ really could return soon according to the Bible’s descriptions. Jesus said we should ‘work while it is light’ . In other words – time and opportunity WILL run out one day.
The one restraining factor
In Matthew 24:14, Jesus gave us the the all important ‘time clock’ for the whole thing. He said that the gospel would go to all the world, and only THEN would the predicted end come. I understand the word used there for ‘world’ to be ‘ethnos’ from which we get the world ethnicity. This could be saying we need to first reach all people groups! There are approximately 2000 of those that remain ‘unreached’ at this time. As I have written elsewhere, exactly how pedantic (nit-picking) God is going to be about this detail we do not know – Jesus could come sooner – but it also might be that this ONE purpose holds the whole thing back. We have work to do! Spreading the gospel is the very purpose of this season in human history (Matthew 18:18-20) The spread of the gospel is the one thing that will hold back the return of Christ! (Matt 24:14, 2 Peter 3:9, 15) For Shining Lights , the ‘urgency of our times’ is, therefore, going to be one of our core values.
- The need to share the gospel is urgent because we never know how long a person will live
- …and it is even more important if we think we see prophecy being fulfilled, as it is possible that our already limited opportunity could be cut even shorter by the return of Christ
Sorry to any who have read this far – this blog is a bit long But the attitude to the spread of the gospel in most Churches and believers really is anything but urgent. That’s the real problem! I hope we can be a voice somehow to challenge that! I hope to produce some simple and ‘middle of the road’ booklets on the subject, and maybe even speak to it. We need sensible and Biblical teaching on end times as it relates to our times – and yet staying sensible (not taking things too far). I believe this is really important as the Word of God was given for a purpose – it talks about this stuff for a reason – and ‘this stuff’ is happening. We need the maturity to ‘know our times’, and to respond in the ways the Word tells us to! Most people just need some teaching on this stuff, as they’re not getting it. The result: Massive motivation to consider what we are each spending our lives doing!