Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The End of All Things

Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:7:  The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.

The end. What will it be like at "the end?"  Matthew 24 gives us a glimpse.  Wars, rumors of wars, increase of wickedness, earthquakes, famines, many false prophets doing miracles, many people turning away from the faith. Jesus said that the love of most will grow cold.  It will be bad, really bad.  

Do we see things like that today?  Absolutely.  I was in a conversation with a man this week who was not aware of what I do for a living.  He told me he winters in Florida and I asked him where.  He said in the Villages.  He then goes on to describe in detail the sexual exploits of some of the residents there. And to quote him, he said, "and we are proud of it."  It reminds me of the Scripture we are studying in Ephesians that says it is even shameful to mention what the disobedient do in secret.  I felt dirty listening, and then I felt very sad.  The increase of wickedness is certainly happening and the end is near for them.

I see the wars in Ukraine, Israel, Iraq, Nigeria, and rumors of war in Korea, Sudan, and other places.  Earthquakes in Oklahoma, Nicaragua, California and Japan, and famine in Africa.  The plethora of false teachers who are tickling peoples ears with their messages and doing "miracles" that seem to validate them.  Remember Peter said to be sober minded and alert so we can pray and know what is real and what is not.

Is "the end" near?  Jesus said to watch and pray so as not to be led astray by all these things.  Obviously we are nearer than we were.  I believe the key is that we will see the "increase" of all these things.  He also said that we would be taken before officials because of our faith.  That was true for the apostles and it will be true for us as believers toward the end.  Because the darkness will grow, so will its repugnance to light.  But that also means that the light will shine brighter.

In Jesus' day, it was clear that the religious leaders had made decisions about important issues such as marriage and divorce based on popular opinion rather than the Scriptures.  Those opinions were followed by many as if God has given them as commands.  (See Matthew 19)  Jesus, in addressing a question about marriage and divorce, took them back to the beginning and the Scriptures.  

As we live in increasing darkness, and it is evident that many are living compromised lives because they are following religious opinions rather than truth, I encourage us to always follow the path of Jesus in seeking what God intended all along.  Look at what the Scriptures have clearly taught from the beginning and don't waver from it.  Following Christ is not easy but the grace and power to do so will always be available to the saint who does.  And a sad and tragic end will meet the religious person who follows popular opinion rather than Him.  

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