Eschatology is the discipline of theology that studies the last things that will take place. There is one major player in the end-times history and it is the church because the primary theme of all theology is God, and the church is the Jesus-ordained entity that is left on this earth with a mission (the Great Commission) to the world that points people to Jesus. The church is to be Christ-like, thus a selfless group of people that is sacrificing, giving, serving, and Jesus-focused. Is that your personal testimony today?
In end times theology, we have come to discover that the church is pulled out of the earth before the Tribulation which is the major event consisting of Jesus’ judgment on the lost world. Between now and then, we are in a world of over 7 billion people that is dying in their sins. Not one of them is seeking God or wanting to turn away from their sin. Each one is a self-worshipping pagan who is an enemy of God.
Jesus, in John 8, is interacting with people who want to kill Him, who refuse to believe in Him, and who keep challenging Him. He defends Who He is in different ways, and they reject each statement He makes about Himself. So, He resorts to the Old Testament’s title for Yahweh (I AM), and says,
- “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”—John 8:24
That is our Gospel message right there. You can tell people, “Jesus died for your sins so you won’t have to be punished for them. But if you reject Him, you will die in your sins.”
The greatest thing about this passage that I think stands out as important for the church in these last days is His statement,
- “I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.”—John 8:28b
We do nothing on our own initiative. We have not been given permission to replace the Gospel with psychology. We have not been given permission to make social justice our primary duty. We have not been told to spend tons of money lobbying the government for “Christian” laws, or fighting abortion and gay marriage. We have not been told to turn church in to an irreverent circus of fun, or to be so stoic that the joy of the Lord is not present.
We are to run everything through the lens of the Bible. Granted, the Bible doesn’t directly instruct each practice we do, such as VBS and Sunday School. In any area not directly discussed in the Bible, we need to seek God in prayer and compare our interests to His Word.
The church, therefore, is not ourchurch in the sense that we can do what wewant. It is Jesus’ church and we must do things how He wants. That is the example we have from Jesus, Who is equal with God (John 5:18; Philippians 2:6), yet submissive to the Father. Is this how you view your Christian life?
- “Five minutes inside of Eternity, I believe everyone of us would have wished we had sacrificed more, prayed more, loved more, sweated more, grieved more, wept more…”—Leonard Ravenhill
- “We’ll hardly get our feet out of time into eternity and gaze on eternity, but what we’ll bow our heads in shame and humiliation and say, ‘My God, look at all the riches there were in Jesus Christ and I’ve come to the Judgment Seat almost a pauper.’”—A.W. Tozer, quoted by Ravenhill
- Do you want God’s blessings and rewards in your life? ___________________________________________________
- Start by denying yourself and submitting more and more to Jesus.
- Think about how much more you can serve and give. What can you do more of, or begin to do that you haven’t been? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
- And remember that Jesus will reward us at the Bema Seat Judgment for what we have done for Him!
- The Gospel (Good News) is that we will die in our sins if we do not believe that Jesus is Lord and Master, and that we will have life everlasting if we do. How does the Gospel change and impact your daily life (besides providing salvation)? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Time is short. Jesus could come back today, and the world will be plunged into 7 years of torturous judgment and wrath. What are you doing to proclaim the Gospel to the lost here in Waikoloa? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Do you pray each day for people whom you know are lost? ___________________________________________________
- The world hates God, but God still loves to save sinners. Do not let your love for people pervert your understanding that they hate God, and conversely, do not let your love for God and His glory pervert your need to love a wicked, rebellious world. You and me were those same rebels before we bowed the knee.
Rescue the Perishing Hymn by Fanny J. Crosby
1 Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing,
care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful,
Jesus will save.
2 Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
waiting the penitent child to receive;
plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently,
He will forgive if they only believe.
3 Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
chords that are broken will vibrate once more.
4 Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
back to the narrow way patiently win them,
tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died.