I doubt that there is a discerning Christian on the face of the earth that doesn't recognize that the world is in spiritual upheaval. We are facing economic collapse; the war drums are sounding; and the demonic influences of the kingdom of darkness are reveling in their victories. It's pretty apparent that End Times events are accelerating.
We know we are born for a time such as this, and our spirits know what a privilege it is that God has chosen us to represent Him and battle for dominion over the Enemy's powers, world forces of darkness, and agents of spiritual wickedness. If you have a warrior spirit, then this is an exciting time; but for most of us it is also a time of deep contemplation and apprehension.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that trust is a big issue ... with our media, those we have set over us to govern this country, with employers, the medical institutions, and sadly, even each other. The bottom line is that Jesus is the only really reliable being in our lives. Deception is becoming the norm, and our Christian values [not to mention our faith!] are being disparaged. We know what the Word of God says ... they will hate us because they hate Jesus. They will hate us because we will boldly declare and act like we are not of this world, and we know we have been chosen out of the world. That truth must be clearly understood by every man, woman, and child who calls themselves a Christian if we are to endure what is coming.
So, I have three important questions to put forth to you today. I do not take credit for these questions. They were asked of me after a Sunday School class was shut down in 2013 by a church that Mark and I attended. At the time, we were becoming ever more dissatisfied with the "cheap grace" of the modern Church, and we
had been searching for a way to worship in Truth and biblical obedience.
As God so often does, He took us on a little journey that landed us in
a small study within a mega-church. Since we are on the fringe in most areas of our life, you can imagine
that we would be attracted to a class titled, "Spiritual Readiness for
the End Times". Right up our alley! This group of 30 or so individuals
had somehow found each other from within the ranks for a 7500+ member
church, and proceeded to examine today's headlines and compare them to
Bible prophecy, as well as to dig deeper into the Word and prep for the Day
of the Lord. By "prepping", I mean spiritually, intellectually,
physically. No topic was off the table, as long as it remained true to
the Word and God's revelation to His Church. But, Satan could not let that stand, so someone complained that we were, basically, coloring outside the lines of strict Christian doctrine, so the class was shut down.
Eight years later, we have kept to that unorthodox model in our Home Church. And, if I'm being honest, I think "the Church" needs this kind of radical approach to worship and teaching; to talk honestly and openly about our faith and what the Bible is telling us about the times we are living in. Christians all over the world, and especially here in the U.S., need to know what time it is in Biblical prophecy and discern what God would have us know and do.Yes, we can pray and hope for a worldwide revival, but we also should be prepared to battle in the spirit if that revival doesn't materialize.
I cannot help but discern that Paul's encouragement in 2 Timothy 4 is most appropriate for this hour ... I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word [as an official messenger]; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome]; correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior], warn [those who sin], exhort and encourage [those who are growing toward spiritual maturity], with inexhaustible patience and [faithful] teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine and accurate instruction [that challenges them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold and will turn their ears away from the truth and will wander off into myths and man-made fictions [and will accept the unacceptable]. But as for you, be clear-headed in every situation [stay calm and cool and steady], endure every hardship [without flinching], do the work of an evangelist, fulfill [the duties of] your ministry.
So, I want to ask you the three questions that our Sunday School teacher asked us in 2013. We were dissolved as a group, and would now be on our own to represent Christ; a situation in which all Christians may soon find ourselves. How will you answer these questions, and will you undertake to see them carried out, even in the midst of difficult and trying circumstances?
1) Do you feel the urgency of telling others about where we are in God's timeline? Although none of us can predict the day, time, or hour of this world's deliverance, we are called upon to know the season. And we have been commissioned to spread the Gospel messages of Salvation and Kingdom. Are we doing that? We all know someone, friend or family, who has not accepted that knock at the door, and time is running out. If we are not actively reaching out to non-believers, then we are failing in our commission from the Lord.
2) Do you have more Faith or Fear? At the end of that class in 2013, we needed to ask ourselves if our study together had resulted in more knowledge that increased our faith, or had we just given into the fear propagated by the Enemy? We were challenged as we went forward, to continue to pursue more understanding so that we could share what is being revealed to us. And we needed to be cognizant ... would our message instill faith, or fear? I will tell you that, in the time between 2013 and now, Mark and I were appointed a ministry by Jesus that has brought far greater understanding of His Kingdom than we had ever possessed. And we know He has much more for us to know as the days get darker. Make no mistake, we see His Light in the midst of the darkness and we are committed to let it shine through us. We have great hope, even if it means we perish in our assignment. We take great encouragement from what the Bible and God tell us about these times. Perseverance and endurance will rule the day, and only Faith will allow us to accomplish both.
3) Finally, if called upon, will you continue to be a Watchman? If you are one of those to whom God has given discernment about His plans, then you are already aware that this role comes with great responsibility. You are assigned a very important part in God's End Times scenario. Failure to warn others about the knowledge you have received will weigh heavily upon you. But you must also be aware of the arrows and slights that will be heaped upon you. And you must keep a balance in your life. Yes, you are a Watchman, but you are also probably a husband or wife; a parent or child. You have been given many areas in which you are to perform righteously. Yes, I will tell you that we may all feel burdened in the coming days, but we must not shirk our other responsibilities. To whom much is given, much is expected.
So, if you happen to identify with Mark and myself, and feel that you are blessed to be living in these momentous times, then I urge you to consider the questions I have extended. They are important questions that have eternal consequences; not just for yourself, but for all those whom you happen to cross paths with. Don't put off their contemplation; you could be the most important influence in someone's life. We know the Father grieves over every person who does not choose His Son. Let us fulfill our purpose in these tumultuous times. Let it be said of us that we offered hope in Christ, to the praise of His glory!
I am so thankful to Paul Felts of Austin, Texas for his leadership in that long-ago Bible class. We all experienced the freedom of learning the greater things of God, and that attitude is what Mark and I have carried forward in our own teaching. Don't be afraid to let your faith and doctrine be challenged in order to grow in God's TRUTH!
2 Corinthians 2:17 "For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ."