Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
We are Coming Down to the Wire
“Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”(Matthew 16:3) We use the phrase down to the wire for any situation which is tense because its outcome may not be decided until the very last moment. However, when it comes to end-times Bible prophecy, the outcome is clear. The question is simply when? Personally, I believe when is a whole lot closer than most people are willing to believe. Few of us realize the lateness of the hour. Many in the Church have ignored the Bible’s warning concerning the end-times and, as a result, have no idea how to “discern the signs of the times.” I believe, based on Scripture and current events, that it is overwhelmingly clear we are nearing the end of the Church Age. The birth-pains Jesus described in Matthew 24 indicate that Daniel’s Seventieth Week will soon begin (see Daniel 9:24-27). However, before this prophesied seven year period can start, the Church must be removed. Therefore, if Daniel’s Seventieth Week is on the near horizon, how much closer then is the Rapture of the Church? It is mind-bogglingly close!
If the return of Christ for His Church is as close as many prophecy teachers believe it is, me included, what should we as believers do? I believe we must raise the bar in our walk with Christ. This is not the time to get lazy, max out your credit cards, and cruise on into heaven. No, now is the time to get more serious than ever about your walk with Christ. One reason I believe this is because I also believe that persecution against followers of Christ will increase as the time of our departure nears. We are already seeing this. Satan will stop at nothing to suppress God’s truth. One of his primary ways of doing this is through silencing Christians. One example of this clever deception is the recently signed hate-crimes law. Regardless of what its supporters want you to believe, its ultimate purpose will be to silence anyone who opposes the abhorrent lifestyles it claims to protect. Therefore, in order to prepare for the coming increase in persecution it is imperative we raise the bar in our walk with Christ. To begin with, we must pursue holiness with a passion. 1 John 3:2 says, “It has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” Since we are going to be like Him, which includes both physical changes of the resurrection body and spiritual changes of purity, no sin, and righteousness, let’s be as much like Him now as we can. In fact, John goes on to write, “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). This raises another very important issue—that of false hope. I know far too many people who think they are right with God because they walked a church aisle but whose lives today give little evidence they belong to Christ. Paul said, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). Secondly, we need to go to our knees in prayer. We should be praying for His will to “be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). Thirdly, we must raise the bar on personal and corporate Bible study. By this, I mean the verse-by-verse study of God’s Word. Our goal in life ought to be to know God as intimately as possible this side of glory. The only way that is going to happen is through careful Bible study and concerted prayer. Finally, we must preach Jesus. By preach Jesus, I mean share the gospel one on one and corporately. Jesus said, “You shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8). If the Rapture occurred today, how many of your family, friends, and loved ones would be left behind? What are you doing about it? Hopefully, you are going to your knees in concerted prayer and preaching the Gospel of our glorious Savior, Jesus Christ!
Our duty and calling in these last days, as we recognize the signs of the times in which we live, is to stand firm on behalf of the Lord. Paul wrote, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58). He repeated this in the next chapter, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Cor. 16:13). I can think of no better advice for those of us so fortunate to live during the most exciting time in history—the time leading up to the return of Christ for His Church. There is no better time to raise the bar in our walk with Christ. There is no better time to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). When it comes to the end-times, we are coming down to the wire. Therefore, make sure you are ready to meet the Lord in the air! “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13).
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