These are the Last Days.
Many prophecy experts say that no further prophesies remain to be fulfilled before the Rapture of the church. Before that moment, when we shall meet the Lord in the air. In the twinkling of an eye.
Where we shall be changed and be forever with the Lord.
We are approaching that great pivotal moment in history which will shake the very foundations of the world.
In these last moments, the church is in “the valley of decision”. Her choices will allow the Lord to manifest Himself to the world or they will obscure the gospel for untold multitudes of people.
Looking for His Appearing
All that we have known of biblical Christianity is being challenged by Christian leaders even as we speak. We are speaking of those who would weaken the gospel that saves and replace it with a relevant substitute.
With a gospel that is acceptable and respectable to the religious, the academic and the secular lost person. And to the lukewarm Christian.
Although we have spoken of these things before, it is necessary to remind ourselves that the time is almost up. The Bridegroom is returning and the church is preoccupied.
Her lamps are untrimmed and she’s not even waiting for Him to return.
There is a verse that speaks of those “that love his appearing.” (II Timothy 4:8)
That verse used to bother me. Because I was afraid, to some extent, that He would return and I would not be “in proper fellowship with Him.”
In truth, I think most believers are in that predicament. They are distracted by too many things. Too much busy-ness. Too many hobbies, activities, sports, entertainment and whatever. And maybe even too much “church work”!
In other words, preoccupied with that great “something else”.
Because we have forgotten that this world is not our home. We are just strangers and pilgrims here. We need to be looking for “another country“ and “another city“. One “which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God“. (Hebrews 11:10)
Our gaze should be on the Lord and not on this earth.
Distracted by Secondary Causes
Yet, as far as the church “organizations” are concerned, I think they are digging in for the long haul down here; rather than gearing up to “meet the Lord in the air.” (I Thess. 4:17). There are more programs out there to keep Christians busy than one can count.
And most of them are about meeting some temporal need that the world has dropped at our doorstep.
You know what I’m talking about; a million and one things that the world demands that the church do for it. Or else, they demand, they will not give our message any consideration if we do not supply what they require.
As the secular, agnostic, atheist and generally-pagan cultures continue their freefall away from biblical Christian thinking and practice, all of their problems increase.
And, rather than seeing those problems as a symptom of sin and unbelief, they place them back at the church’s door. Expecting that the church will fix them up and allow them to return to their wicked lifestyles.
Now, practically speaking, there are many things that the church can do (each of us can do) in a day-to-day, one-on-one meeting with people in need. Whether they listen to our message or not. Whether they like us or not. Or whether they just plainly hate us.
We can still help many people on a personal level. We can still respond as God brings our neighbors, families, co-workers, and a multitude of other people into our lives to personally minister to them.
But the truth is, the church as a whole, only has so much time as well as resources to accomplish the things the Lord has given us to do. So the focus is critical.
The Prime Directive
The problem is, the church doesn’t see the primary urgency of bringing people to Christ as much as it sees the need to solve temporal problems.
That is the issue in a nutshell.
Somehow we have been led down a rabbit trail. We have been drawn off course by causes that look important and that the surrounding culture has told us are of the highest priority.
Unfortunately, when you dedicate the time to focus on making an “impact on the culture”, “saving the culture” and joining in with the rest of the world’s secular and religious communities in all kinds of problem-solving programs, then you just don’t have time to focus on the spiritual side of the gospel.
Yes, we say that we will get the gospel out somewhere in the midst of it all; and sometimes we do. But there have been too many distractions, too many compromises, too many corners cut in joining with the world that have seriously diluted and weakened the message of salvation.
Because, people need to know Christ above all else. And they only truly know Him when they hear his pure truth and believe it. And that takes time and care.
So, someone needs to give the world that message. Clearly, Fully, Undiluted, Unabridged.
True love is to give them the words of Christ that He gave us to give. To give them the full message.
Not to sneak His gospel in some back door between the cracks. Hoping our real purpose is somehow fulfilled in the midst of all the other activity, programs and chaos.
Natural vs Eternal Fruit
However, for the average guys in the pews, the men and women who are willing to see the burning urgency of Christ actually saving the world around them, it is another thing altogether.
I am speaking of those who are looking for the Lord to use them to produce eternal, spiritual fruit. To produce fruit that remains. (John 15:16)
This is not a natural fruit that is produced by programs and initiatives. But that which God does through those who allow the Lord to work through them personally.
Because, the world will not see Christ simply because of our good works. Many have taken the following verse and have missed the point. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven“. (Matthew 5:16)
They think that good works are the way we get our foot in the door to give them the message. The increasingly popular message is that the gospel is more importantly about doing justice or doing good social works. Or focusing on programs that promote human flourishing.
They believe that this is how we truly give out the gospel. Whether we say anything else or not. Because our good works become the presentation of the gospel.
This is called, The Social Gospel. It is an old lie and an old substitute gospel — dusted off and repackaged for a new generation.
Of course, we DO pray that we have good works — and in great abundance. And that they greatly bless the world around us.
But the world must see a revelation of Christ in order to come to Him. They must have their eyes opened to see more than good people trying to win them to an idea by doing good things.
There are multitudes of lost people in all kinds of Protestant, Catholic, Muslim and Jewish religious groups that try, with great sincerity, to bring people to their folds in that way.
But true Salvation in Christ takes more than that.
“Sirs, We would see Jesus.”
The watching world is looking for Christ. Not for our other stuff.
They need to see the Lord Himself. This is accomplished by God’s Spirit, working through us, removing the scales from their eyes. This is something that only the hands of God can do.
This takes a supernatural act by Christ Himself.
And that is only accomplished one way.
We must be dependent on Him to do this work. We must be yielded to Him to do the work. We must believe that He is going to do that work. And we must allow Him to work.
And we must quit trusting in our own natural abilities and techniques. Nor our own long-term plans to build this or do that.
Most of our works are distractions. Even though they are for a good cause, done in sincerity, they are still a distraction from the Great Commission.
We do not have any more time.
We only have today. Tomorrow may be too late.
The time has come for the church to wake up. The natural methods, the borrowing of techniques from the world, or using our “dedicated Christian flesh” to accomplish the work of God must cease.
So that God can do the work He needs to do through us individually and in our local churches.
To finish His work in these final moments while the fields are still “white already to harvest“. (John 4:35)