Sunday, October 7, 2012

"Why talk about the end of the world?"

In the last few days we have talked about "scoffers"  - those who will deliberately forget that God created the world and who do not believe His judgment lies ahead.  These people pursue their evil schemes and self-centered agendas, thinking only of this world and this life.  In the end, they will regret their decision to ignore God's Word.  But there are also those within the body of the church who do virtually the same thing.  Ignoring God's Word, they make up their own scenario for the future.  They come up with their own plans and enlist the rest of the body of the church to do what they want - even dialoguing with other religions, all in the name of love and tolerance ...  in the name of "God."

It's time for the truth:  this world, this planet, is "reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men" (II Peter 3:7).  The only reason the end has not already come is that God"is being patient," and is calling people to repentance through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Those who stand upon the Word of God are often ridiculed as old-fashioned and out-of-touch with the culture of our nation and of the world today.  Those who believe the Bible should be taken literally and that it is the very Word of God are ridiculed, even by those who are teaching in seminaries.  Surely, we must know better today than to think the Bible can be taken literally, that it is really God's inspired Word.  Instead, these "scholars" and "theologians" tell us we must discover the "kernel of truth" contained in Jesus' teaching and learn to live in this world with love for all people.

Sounds good, doesn't it?  Hardly how the Apostle Paul addressed those who opposed his teaching.  In II Corinthians 11 he says, "Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.  Their end will be what their actions deserve" (II Corinthians 11:13-15).  I thank God for those who stand upon the Word and who preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, preaching God's Word and calling people to repent.  But as thankful as I am for these brothers, I come against those who deceive and who lead many astray.  Their end is destruction, and rightly so.  They fail to preach the cross and leave people searching in an endless journey for truth, declaring all the while that there IS NO TRUTH!

Believing God's Word is true brings hope because it gives to those who believe a foundation for life.  Peter concludes his second letter to the church by making the connection between the coming judgment and life today:  "Since everything WILL BE DESTROYED in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives ... as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heart.  BUT, in keeping with His promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness"  (II Peter 3:11-13).

Whether or not you or any other person believes God's judgment is coming on the earth, it is true and it will happen.  Millions have been deceived by false religions to believe that they will return to life after they die, that they will be reincarnated.  Others simply believe in some kind of pleasant afterlife in a place where we are free from our problems - a utopian state.  How foolish to believe such a thing that has absolutely no evidence of existing.  People laugh at children for believing fairytales, but that is what such things are.  On the contrary, the Bible explains the plan and purpose of God from before the world began, some six thousand years ago.  Peter's words are an encouragement that to believe in God's judgment is to find hope in God's promise:  there is a new heaven and a new earth coming - a new beginning.

God invites sinners into this new world through His Son Jesus Christ.  Only by His sacrifice on the cross could Jesus, true God and true man, make a way for people like you and me to enter God's eternal kingdom.  This gives a sure and certain hope to believers, to those who are true Christians, and calls us to live as children of God, in holiness and godliness, as we look forward to what God has promised.  The greatest incentive to live as godly people is the return of Jesus Christ.  Knowing that we will live forever, either in the new heaven and earth, or facing God's judgment in hell, makes the choice an easy one - unless your mind and heart are still deceived and you are still living in the darkness of spiritual death.  May these words awaken you and move you to believe God's Word as He reveals these things to those who have been given ears to hear, minds to understand and hearts to obey.  By His grace, you can KNOW that you are safe from His judgment.

What is yet to come?  We are only just beginning to uncover all that God has revealed!!

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