For the series* we have been looking at what Scripture might have to say about how we, as believers, are to live in these times. The world has plenty to say, but we want to choose to follow the teachings of Christ in all our ways. The current settings of 2020 are not taking God by surprise and He has equipped us with what we need to live out our faith in the times in which He has placed us. We are exactly where we are supposed to be and we want to be living with purpose in our given assignment.
When I taught Sunday school, one of our regulars would ask from time to time if I thought we were living in the end times. I said the same answer every time – I don’t know, no one does except God Himself, but I do know that every day since Christ ascended into heaven is one day closer to His return. I think if I was still teaching and she were to ask me that question this coming Sunday, I might have to pause with a bit of a different answer. While there are many level-headed believers who point out that other times in history surely must have seemed like the days of chaos and evil and world turmoil described in passages in the Bible that will mark the end times, we would have to agree that this year has really topped them all.
Let’s look at how the “Last Days” are described in these passages:
But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slandered, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godless but denying its power.2 Timothy 3: 1-9
Even Jesus described the last days in ways that we would read and say…check, check, check…we are there.
There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on earth among nation bewildered by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that coming on the world, because the powers of the heavens will be shaken.Luke 21: 25-26
You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nations will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of labor pains. They will hand you over to be persecuted, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations of my name. Then many will fall away, betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold.Matthew 24: 6-12
Wars, rumors of wars, anguish, arrogance, greed, deception, corruption, tornadoes, derechos, explosions, looting, violence, hatred, slander, fear, disobedient, unholy, ungrateful, oppressive, a pandemic, masks, canceled everything, economic collapse, coin shortage, worldwide vaccination…all of it…on the daily. And we can err on the side of blaming the media or politicians or deny its existence, but the fact is we are getting a glimpse of what the Last Days are capable of looking like even if these are just the birth pains.
Because let me tell you as a mother of three. Birth pains start out with a punch and grow in intensity and frequency and they do end when they have produced what started the whole process. Something will be born and in this case, it will be the Last Days which will make these miserable days of 2020 look like a walk in the park.
Well, are you still with me? I hope so. And I hope you are not figuring out how if we get the right programs in order and the right people in office, we can fix all of this. The pandemic and all the potpourri of chaos that has brewed to the surface in the past eight months is globally attended. There is no corner of this world untouched. We are seeing worldwide unity in protests, extreme weather conditions that happen on the daily, conflict abounds from the family sitting around the table to the boardrooms to the streets of our cities. There is strong push for anarchy as a great idea for how to run a country and even the world.
The point of my VBS wasn’t to scare you further or force you to crawl in a shelter and pull the covers over your head. The point isn’t to get you all riled up so you can sound the alarm and rally the troops and bring back the good old days (because here is a hint, they weren’t that great.There were good days and bad days and ups and downs and many of the problems today were just hidden from view) The point is that God already knows about all of this. He told US…and He has told us how to live in the midst of it.
So here is the part of VBS where we do an activity and then apply it to our lives:
In the same chapter of 2 Timothy where we are told about the difficult days ahead, we see this instruction:
But you have followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love and endurance, along with the persecutions and sufferings…In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Evil people and imposter will become worse, deceiving and being deceived BUT AS FOR YOU, CONTINUE IN WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED AND FIRMLY BELIEVED. YOU KNOW THOSE WHO TAUGHT YOU, AND YOU KNOW THAT FROM INFANCY YOU HAVE KNOWN THE SACRED SCRIPTURES, WHICH ARE ABLE TO GIVE YOU WISDOM AND SALVATION IN JESUS CHRIST.2 Timothy 3: 10-17
He goes on to exhort to preach the word, teach, correct, encourage, be ready in season and out of season.
So one way we live now is by knowing and applying the Scriptures that show us who God is so we can recognize false teachers, prophets and ideas. Teach, preach = talk about the Gospel, the Good News…that the end of all things will the beginning of what we have all been longing for – God’s Kingdom on earth. Talk about how Jesus died to make us right with God. Encourage the weary and hurting. Comfort the grieving. Fan the fans of love for both God and for each other.
Hold fast to the truths you were taught. If you are questioning, go back and read them again. Study His Word and find your answers there. Pray for those who are deceived that they might have the blinders removed.
Another passage is found in 1 Peter under a section called “End Time Ethics” in my Bible:
The end is here. Be alert and sober-minded so you can pray. Maintain constant love for one another – love covers over a multitude of sins. Be hospitable. Don’t complain. Use your gifts to serve others. Speak from God’s words, serve from God’s strength, glorify in the use of the gifts He has given you. Don’t be surprised by the trials and testings and the pain they cause. Instead rejoice knowing that Christ also suffered and He is with you in the suffering. If you are ridiculed, remember Christ was ridiculed and you are identifying with Him in His sufferings. Do good not evil.1 Peter 4: 12-17 – MY PARAPHRASE!!!
There are so many passages that tell us how to live. As Christ-followers our goal is to know God’s word and then guard our hearts against the things we see listed about as indications of growing cold or being deceived. Encourage and exhort one another and continue to keep the faith. Serve with the strength and love of God.
Yes these times are difficult, uncomfortable and challenging; but we are not without a guide book for how to honor God and that is what we have been put here to do <3
Blessings on you all!
If you are discouraged from the descriptions of the last days, I urge you to go back to the passages I referenced and read the instructions we have been given for how to live in these times
* IF you missed the VBS, scroll back and catch up on our week <3