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War of the Worlds: Signs of the End of the Age
Jesus said there'd be days like this.
The disciples came to Jesus asking: "What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matt 24:3)
Jesus answered: "...many will come in My Name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places ... because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved..." (Matt 24).
Things are going to get worse here on the 3rd rock from the sun before they ever get better. Count on it. That's why it is the acme of foolishness to spend all our resources trying to get comfortable down here. We don't belong here, folks! We're citizens of Heaven, as Christians, just passing through. We are "seated in heavenly places.." (Eph 1:3). We're are good as there as followers of Christ. That's either true for right now, or it's a lie. But we've been given a job description to make as many disciples for Christ as we can while we inhabit these earth suits. How's that going, by the way?
Count the cost before you dare to become a radical disciple of Christ because, as things worsen, the persecution of Christians will increase. Are you SURE you want to make yourself conspicuous? If we're fortunate enough that we're not living among those who are suffering the worst of the anti-Christian persecution, you'd better believe we're going to be held accountable for all that we could have done/should be doing with the many resources the Western Church has at its disposal. We can, and MUST, support the work of the Kingdom, with prayer, time, talent and finances. NOTE:the purchase of new playground equipment, repaving a parking lot, or buying a new gargoyle for the cathedral is probably NOT what the Kingdom requires from us at this time. Finances may be the most difficult to part with because our hearts are so tied to our purse strings. Think about that next time you make an impulse purchase or stick your head into that basement, attic, closet, or garage full of important stuff God has "blessed" you with. How much we trust God is evidenced by how much we trust him with our money. Fact is, we have nothing God hasn't given us, not as some sort of reward, but as a steward.
DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH?
Surely we don't believe that the duty of the Western Church is to protect the Gospel through force! God no more needs our military might to protect and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ than He needed Peter to slice the ear off of poor Malchus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Repeat! God no more needs our military might to protect and promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ than He needed Peter to slice the ear off of poor Malchus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Folks, any religion or philosophy that intends to advance by way of military might is no better than Islam. Such a gospel would be, in fact, a religion of lies straight from the pit of Hell. Might does NOT make right! In fact,it's in great part because our faith WAS once promoted by the tip of the sword that there remains such resistance to it today. That plus the fact that we aren't making anyone jealous for what we've supposedly found through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The world is rarely impressed with us
In a nutshell, there will not be ... can NOT be ... peace without Christ. Violence will get worse, and the disciples of Christ will suffer increased global persecution.
People of Planet Earth, I have two words for you: Jesus Christ. Hope is in Him alone, and in submitting to the Father in accordance with His Word. Though Christians may not be kept from the effects of war, for it rains upon the just and the unjust, we must come to the point where we openly, in front of God and everybody, abide in the Peace of Christ. THAT they WILL notice!
God is more concerned with the character of His kids than He is in our carnal comfort. Despite all the "stuff" that's happening and is GOING to happen on planet Earth, we are an army and must not lose the focus of our objective. Soldiers of the Cross, there's a Kingdom to advance in the Name of the King we love.
A CALL TO ARMS!
Jesus never taught that His followers should attempt to change the social or political order of things. We are not another special interest group. Not another subculture. If anything, we're a COUNTER culture - IN the world, not OF the world.
The word for the Church right now is "Repent!" In this instance, repentance begins when we turn from the solutions offered by this world, and put our trust in God. Some men trust in chariots, some in horses ... will WE trust in the Name of our God? (Ps 20:17)
There is a war of the worlds going on. It's not physical. Despite its appearances, it's not REALLY Islam vs. the West at all. It's SPIRITUAL, for our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the hordes of hell... a demonic force that, for the moment, seems to be making dramatic progress (Eph 6).
The days are getting darker. What if there IS coming an end to Christianity? If that were the case, that certainly does NOT mean there has come an end to Christ, nor to His remnant of True believers.
I contend that it's "CHURCH-ianity" that is lying sick upon its deathbed, gasping for air, and NOT the glorious Bride of Christ, at all.
The Lord is with us, saints of God! Let us seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness. Now, let's lock 'n load! The war is with Hell ... on OUR turf and by OUR GOD's rules! Drop to your knees in fervent prayer, reconcile people to the God of the Bible, wield your checkbook, get your passport up to date so you can mobilize if called to overseas duty as a missionary. Quit waffling about, wondering when God will put you into the game. You're already IN the game. It's time to get your uniform dirty. The call to serve is REALLY a call to PREPARE! Get prepared.
Look around ... each of us is surrounded by resources that could be used to advance the cause of Christ! I know elderly people, children and cripples that are giving the devil a black eye on a daily basis by doing all they can. There are others, for example, who forward these weekly messages from t.e.a.m. ministries to hundreds of others within their scope of influence. My goodness, if we would ALL do at least THAT!
Fear not, Army of the Lord! The gates of Hell shall not prevail against us! Let's make it really hard to go to Hell from your sector of influence. Give till it helps! Don't worry, you cannot outgive God.
Remember this: all it takes for evil to continue to prosper is for good Christians to do nothing. It's a statistical fact that a soldier in battle will miss 100% of the shots he never dares to take.
So, how's YOUR aim lately?
Pastor Michael is founder of t.e.a.m. ministries (firstname.lastname@example.org). His eMail broadcasts, known as "Your Town for Jesus" (SEARCH it!) are reaching tens of thousands WEEKLY. Log on at http://www.PlanetaryMinistry.org Michael's mission is to bring Discipleship and Encouragement to the Body of Christ. Michael is the author of numerous booklets on a subjects that will interest the thinking Christian. Since 1999, he has written and broadcast nearly 500 inspirational articles and a dozen booklets, al designed to accelerate the process of spiritual development in God's people.
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