I recently had a challenging conversation with a person who came to me for council. This person was disturbed by what they see as an erosion of the Christian faith. He gave me example after example of what he saw as major offenses to the truth of the gospel. He was genuinely distraught and at a loss to know what to do. He saw in all of this clear signs of the end of time and the return of Christ.
Although no one knows the time of Jesus’ return, the signs all seem to be pointing in that direction. The time is growing short. Jesus may come in our life-time. So what are we to do?
First, we must understand the times we are in. Paul warns us that there will be major distortions of the truth. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4) I had a recent experience were I encountered several religious leaders who openly espoused a distorted gospel. The trend today is to adapt the Gospel to the culture so that it is palatable.
We also need to be aware that, as the days grow short, Satan will double his efforts to deceive people. Paul’s depiction of this in Romans 1:18-32 could have come right out of the pages of our newspapers. He ends that section with these telling words. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:32)
So what are we to do? More than ever we need to stand firm in the faith. When Paul warned Timothy about the challenges before him, he told Timothy to be diligent in fulfilling his calling. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:1-2
Satan wants to sow the seeds of fear and discouragement among believers. He wants us to focus on the evil all around us. God wants us to focus on Christ and the power of the Gospel. Instead of living in fear, we need to boldly stand for the truth. I don’t mean being arrogant or obnoxious, but faithfully living out the truth of the Gospel in our everyday lives. We are the light of the world. The early Church transformed their world by being the Church in practical ways. We may not be able to affect what is happening globally, but we can make a significant difference locally. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12)
When Jesus taught about the end times, He put his focus on being faithful to our calling. "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. (Matthew 24:45-46)
So instead of giving in to fear, let us stand firm in what we know to be true. By doing this, God will use us to change our world for His glory. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)