From the Pastors Desk
May24FriMay 24, 2019 Pastor Byron Hand
This Sunday we will conclude our study of Luke 21 (Lord Willing) which has been a chapter that focuses on biblical prophecy (both near and far). The study of prophecy tends to bring out both the best and the worst in people.
When it brings out the best we are motivated to holiness and confidence in Christ, the Gospel and our Sovereign God. When it brings out the worst we tend to become suspicious of others and see a new conspiracy behind every news headline. I was reading this week and in an article the author quoting Martyn Lloyd-Jones saying:
“The great doctrine of the second advent has in a sense fallen into disrepute because of . . . this tendency on the part of some to be more interested in the how and the when of the second coming rather than in the fact of the second coming.”
Eschatology is all about Jesus. While he has already paid the price for sin and victoriously risen from the grave, he has not yet returned. When he does, we will be with him forever (1 Thess. 4:18). Christians should encourage one another with these words and study eschatology with hope and joy. Unfortunately, believers often cycle through a stock list of end-times errors. These mistakes discredit gospel proclamation and rob Christians of the blessings and wisdom God gives from meditating on this area of truth.
The article listed 13 end-times errors that believers fall into … I want to share with you only three. Three things that often mark people and churches that have taken biblical prophecy to an unhealthy and unbiblical extreme.
1. They make a particular view, or interpretation, of the end times a test of orthodoxy – Please do not misread me: It is important to study and wrestle with the meaning and theology of the bible. But we need to be cautious about holding our end times beliefs with the same tenacity as we do the virgin birth.
2. They often drift into date-setting - Jesus couldn’t have been clearer: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” (Matt. 24:36, cf. Matt. 24:44, 50; 25:13; Acts 1:1–8). Paul repeated the point (1 Thess. 5:1–3). Nevertheless, some continue to predict.
3. They tend to make discussion and study of end times more prominent than Jesus and proclaiming the Gospel (This would never be admitted publicly) – Remember this, eschatology is about Jesus. We must not turn our study of his return, then, into a catalogue of events in which we’re more concerned about determining the relationship between the universal bar code and mark of the beast than worshiping the Lamb slain. Rather, we should be thankful that a study of eschatology gives us a fuller picture of the One who came first as a suffering servant but will return in majesty and power. Jesus was clear. It’s not ours to know times or dates. Rather, empowered by the Spirit, we go into all the world to make disciples (Acts 1:6–8). What could more be more motivating for missions than to meditate on Jesus’s words in Matthew 24:14: “This gospel will be proclaimed throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Good stuff to Remember … See You Sunday