There is no question we are living in the end times. It is very important however to keep in mind that the disciples of Jesus, the apostles (including Paul), and all New Testament believers were also convinced they were living in the last days. I am deeply concerned about what I see as foolish, fatalistic apathy that is the result of an inappropriate view of our responsibilities prior to the return of Christ. Now is not the time to cast aside our faith, hope, or lay aside spiritual armor and cease being a fruitful garden of God releasing the ever-flowing streams of His redemptive life.
I am appalled that professing Christians and many people who claim faith in God and a love for their neighbor can be so indifferent about making a difference on planet earth in the here and now. Jesus never would have taught us in the model prayer to ask God to reveal His kingdom imprint now and for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven if that was of little importance. This is no time to give up in any area of our lives as disciples and followers of Christ. If you bought into the lie that we can’t make a significant difference because things will get worse and worse and evil men will become more evil, you are unwittingly contributing to the work of satan, the father of the lie. We don’t have to give the enemy of Almighty God one inch of our lives or our land. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” and “the heavens declare His glory” and we are to do the same on earth.
Let’s take a close look at the appropriate response to life in the last days beginning in the book of Acts. After the disciples had tarried in prayer and were suddenly endued with power from above, Simon Peter stood up and spoke in the power of the Holy Spirit, proclaiming that the prophecy of Joel was being fulfilled as God poured out His Spirit on all people and both men and women would proclaim the truth in boldness, and that everyone who called upon the Name of the Lord would be saved! Peter made it clear that Jesus had been crucified, raised by the power of God, and that He was in fact the Messiah. Three thousand people accepted Christ, were baptized, and added to the church that day. They had been saved from the perverse, unbelieving generation.
Those new believers lived with the commitment to God and to one another as an example of the way we are to live in the last days. They were filled with love and joyfully met the needs of one another. It was not the redistribution of wealth by some national power. It was the power of the living God and the spirit of love directing them to care and share. As a result, people were continually saved and added to the church.
The apostle John warned that in the last days there would be the spirit of the anti-Christ, but that believers did not need to fear because they had the Holy Spirit and they could discern the difference in truth and lies. Jude, the brother of James, said, “In the last days there would be scoffers who were living to satisfy their ungodly desires.” We witness this every day and see reports of such activity on every news channel, in every newscast, and in every newspaper. People are following their natural instincts and do not have God’s Spirit. As a result, they are able to create divisions among believers. We must not allow this to happen. Jude went on to say, “We must build each other up in our holy faith and pray in the power of the Holy Spirit keeping ourselves safe in God’s love.”
Simon Peter wrote that “God has delivered us and redeemed us from an empty life, not with gold or silver, but with the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God, and that He has been revealed to believers in the last days.” He urges everyone to “live humble before God, allowing Him to lift us up.” We are cautioned to “stay alert, watching out for the great enemy satan who prowls like a roaring lion looking for those to devour.” His last days instructions direct us to stand firm against satan, be strong in our faith, always considering our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who may be suffering, and depend upon God to restore, support, and strengthen us so that we may stand on a firm foundation. In the last chapter of his second letter he reminded the last day believers that “scoffers would come who mock the truth and follow their own desires.” They would actually make fun of the thought that Christ is coming again. Peter reminded them that He would come like a thief in the night appearing suddenly. Recognizing the fact that someday this present world would be destroyed, Peter commanded the believers to live holy and godly lives, looking forward to the return of the Lord. He said, “While you are waiting, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in the sight of the Lord and refuse to be carried away by the errors of wicked people and lose your own secure footing.” He challenged all Christians “to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This is God’s command for us today also.
Now consider carefully the clearest teaching on the last days which Paul shared in 2 Timothy 3. He said there would be “difficult times with people in love with themselves, their money, and that people would be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to parents, and ungrateful.” Have you ever witnessed so much ingratitude on the part of people for what we have here in the United States and in the free world? Paul said people will consider nothing sacred. The fact is, everything sacred is being trampled under the foot of men because the salt (the witness of Christians) has lost its effect. Jesus said this is exactly what would happen. We are not supposed to lose our effect. We are supposed to impact everything around us in the most profound and positive way. Paul said in the last days “people will be unloving and unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good, betraying their friends, reckless and puffed up with pride, loving pleasure more than God. They will act religious, but actually reject the power that could make them godly. We are to avoid these kind of despicable acts.”
Consider what Paul said to Timothy, the one to whom he was writing in these last days, and listen closely to his instructions for us and follow them! He warned that in the last days people would be “following deceptive spirits and actually teaching doctrines of demons.” He warned against the foolishness of arguing over godless ideas and wasting time, but to practice godliness and personal discipline. He said we are to “stay away from foolish arguments, slander and evil suspicions.” He gave serious caution to people falling in love with the things of this world and made it clear “the love of money is the root of all evil and that when people crave it they often wander from the truth faith and find themselves pierced with many sorrows.” He commanded Timothy and all believers to “pursue righteousness and a godly life, filled with faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” Hear this command, last days Christian: “Fight the good fight of faith!” He warned us not to trust in money, which is unreliable, but to trust in God who richly gives us all we need for our own enjoyment. He said to use our money for good and that those who are rich should do good works and be generous to those in need, always ready to share with others. Here he is making it clear that money is not the problem; the love of money is. We need to use our money for God’s glory and to bless and benefit others. In so doing we will be “storing up treasure as a good foundation for the future” and will experience abundant life.
In 2 Timothy 4 he urged him to “stir up the gift of God that was within him.” Every person reading this commentary has a gift that God has put in you. Ask God to stir it up and use you for His glory! He said to avoid fear and timidity because God did not give you that. He is giving you power, love, and a sound mind. Paul commanded Timothy to “be strong, endure suffering and challenges as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ,” refusing to be distracted from the will of God. He urged Him to “study to show himself approved to God – a worker, one that needs not be ashamed who correctly understands and explains the truths of God.” Again, he warned him to “stay away from foolish talk and arguments that lead to godless behavior and actually spread like a cancer.”
After Paul clearly shared the description of the last days, he “solemnly urged in the presence of God and Jesus Christ to preach the word, be prepared whether the time is favorable or not, to patiently correct, rebuke and encourage all people with good teaching because the time would come when people won’t listen to sound wholesome teaching, but follow their own desires and look for teachers who will tell them what their itchy ears desire to hear and will actually reject the truth and chase after myths.” He commanded this last day Christian to keep a clear mind in every situation; never fear suffering for the Lord, work at sharing the good news, and fully carry out the ministry that God has given us. Paul then shared his personal testimony proclaiming that “his life had been poured out as an offering.” This is the way we are supposed to live.
Paul continued, “The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” My friend that is the last day command and challenge for us! Then Paul said, “And the prize awaits me – the crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge will give me on the day of His return.” Then notice how clearly Paul the apostle not only saw and loved Jesus, but how much he loved those around him. He said, “The prize is not just for me, but also for those who eagerly look forward to the appearing of the Lord.” This does not just reference the return of Christ, but the appearing of His glory on planet earth right now in the lives of people who are last days believers and who must bear positive influence to the glory of God and His kingdom purpose!
“This is the day the Lord has made.” I will not only rejoice in it, but I will stand in the face and fury of satan refusing to give one inch of my life or my land to the devil. He has no right. He is a trespasser!
By God’s grace and power, I want to be a fruitful garden and an ever-flowing stream, known as one who repairs the breech, stands in the gap, and restores the foundation upon which we are to live, building our lives and families to the glory of God. This is God’s commission to each of us in these last days. Now is the time for all who profess faith in Christ to stand together against the assault on innocent life, marriage, family, and freedom.
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