I was wondering if we might start hearing lots of end times predictions around a renewed look at biblical prophecy, and sure enough this last weekend I ran into a few sources of information on the topic. End times prophecy is all about a few major events falling into place, and the current scenario is such that you can understand how this might happen. In light of current events and numerous theories regarding these events, prophecies that years ago seemed like they were a long way off are now appearing more plausible. Who knows but that we may be closing in on the great End Game predicted in the scriptures. If so, what should be our attitude concerning these things? What should we do?
Well the first thing we should do is not panic. Our passage last night in 1 John that we’ve been studying in our Church at the Catch said, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). The passage goes upon to state that Jesus Christ is the truth and we are secure in Him both now and for eternity. And yet we live in a world that is in the control of the evil one. This is certainly no surprise looking at the world as it is right now. And yet nowhere in scripture are we told to fight Satan or try and stop the events of the last days from happening. We are told to resist the devil, flee from him, and get busy spreading the good news of Jesus Christ and making disciples of all nations.
It’s tempting to spend a lot of time reading the newspaper and prophecy and trying to track with the major events happening, but that can also become a distraction from our real job which is much closer to home. Peter put it this way:
The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the multifaceted grace of God. (1 Peter 4:7-10)
Notice, first off, that they thought the end was near in the first century. Truth of the matter is, every generation since has thought the end was near, and that’s as it should be, not to create fear, but to realize a state of urgency for the sake of the gospel. Jesus told us to watch for the signs, but not to stop and do only that.
Peter tells us what to do since the end of all things is near. We ought to pray, love each other, offer hospitality, and use our spiritual gifts to serve one another. Does that sound like panic? Not at all. That sounds pretty much like normal Christian life.
In this time of year, when we’re all getting ready for Christmas and looking forward to putting some brightness in and around our houses to contrast with the oppressive darkness we feel from the world around us, we’re going to look at what Peter suggests we spend our time and efforts on for the sake of the kingdom of God. We will find, lo and behold, that is pretty bright, too.
In fact, Peter’s advice is not a bad outline for what we are to be doing all the time, so we’re going to spend the rest of the week breaking this down. If it’s true and we are in the end times, we will be doing what we’re supposed to be doing. If it’s not, we’ll be doing what we’re supposed to be doing anyway.