We cannot talk about what the world is coming to without coming face-to-face with the question of Christ’s return. The prophecies of Daniel, Jesus, and John in particular, clearly indicate that we may well be that final generation – the one that shall not pass away until all these things are fulfilled!
For the church it means that, going forward, things will be anything but 'business as usual'. The intensification of natural disasters (storms, earthquakes, famines, etc) is going to have an impact everyone, Christian or non-Christian. This, coupled with an ever more volatile global economy, will also put many believers under great financial stress. As we watch the march of militant Islam, we can anticipate a continual erosion of religious freedoms – certainly in Islamic nations, but also in western nations seeking to placate increasingly vociferous Islamist demands.
It will doubtless be a time of great turbulence – one that will separate the wheat from the tares. But it will also be a time of tremendous opportunity to see millions turn to Christ for their salvation. The church that will shine forth in the ‘days of the Son of Man’ will be the church that has its waist girded and its lamps burning. There will be a tremendous harvest of souls to be reaped by the church that is prepared to be bold and outspoken in the face of the gathering darkness.
And if the signs declare that the countdown to Armageddon has already begun, then this great harvest has also begun. No matter what else we may plan to do in the years ahead, we must plan to reach out and win souls as never before. There is a growing openness – not to religious Christianity – but to a real Christ. Our gospel must be stripped of the centuries-old accretion of religiosity and presented in its purest form: the matchless love of God, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life for ‘whosoever will.’
We want to reach every available person, at every available time, and by every available means. But how can we tell who is available? Easy:
- Shine. If you love Jesus, then let your world see it, not just in the way you live, but in everything you say too. Notice I didn’t say you had to have a perfect life, just that you love Jesus. If it is evident that you follow Christ, the available will find you! They will seek you out in their time of need and ask you for help. They are telling you they are available.
- Ask. When we really care about someone we show interest in them. Ask people about their beliefs. You may get all kinds of answers – religion, evolution, philosophy. But when they, in turn, ask you about what you believe: they are available! Tell them why you love the Lord, why you live with peace inside, and why you are not afraid to face eternity. Ask them if there is any reason why they can’t accept Christ right now.
- Pray. Praying for people rips Christianity right out of the abstract realm of theology and pastes it right into reality. It is faith in action. Anyone can say they believe, but praying with hands laid on gives visual proof that your God is alive, listening, present, all-powerful, and more than willing to demonstrate His love to sinners.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” Matt 24:14