The End-Time Challenge
Just about everything that we do has a direction and a deadline. The task is to accomplish this result, and thatâ€™s true about the Gospel. All the world must hear of Christ, and His power to save. But it also has a deadline. Did you know that the world is going to come to an end one day? Did you know that this Dispensation of Grace will close one of these hours, perhaps very soon? Did you know that there comes a point where time gives way to eternity, and the opportunities to preach the Gospel are gone? Thatâ€™s why the Bible tells us in so many ways that God is: â€śnot willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentanceâ€ť (2 Peter 3:9).
There will then be a seven-year period in which great judgment comes upon the world. And when it looks as if the world is going to fall into the Devilâ€™s hands totally, the Tribulation will be concluded by the return of Jesus Christ. When He comes, He will come with ten thousands of His saints, and He will put down the work of the Devil. The Devil will be discomfited, and those who stood against Godthe Antichrist and the False Prophetwill be cast into the lake of fire.
When Christ comes again in power and great glory, He will finalize the moral nature of the universe. All of those who know Him will receive their millennial rewards and citizenship in heaven. Everlasting life will be theirs. All of those who do not, who refused to believe the Gospel, will be lost. They will be sent to hell. The Bible finally tells us that the Great Divorce will take place. (Thatâ€™s the title of a book by C. S. Lewis, as youâ€™ll recall.) That is, those who are righteous will be righteous still, and those who are wicked will be wicked still.
And so, we move into eternity in a far different situation than the one we have now. But in order to be in heaven with Jesus Christ, we have to accept Him while we are yet in this world. That ought to move you, that ought to move me, to think of little else, except getting out the Word of Life. The challenge of life is not the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the house you live in. The challenge of life is not fame and fortune and political success and all of that. Too many millions of people are exhausting themselves in those really worthless pursuits. The challenge of life is to believe in Jesus Christ, and then, get out the Gospel so that others can believe in Him while thereâ€™s still time.
Thereâ€™s a line that we cross by rejecting the Lord,
We are laboring against a deadline, in spite of what the world says: â€śthere shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creationâ€ť (2 Peter 3:3-4).
But then the Scripture says: â€śThe Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentanceâ€ť (2 Peter 3:9).
But patiently, God waits, because the door to life is still open. Jesus Christ says, â€śCome.â€ť In fact, have you checked the last few verses of the Bible as of late?
â€śAnd the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freelyâ€ť (Rev. 22:17).
That is a terrific invitation. God extends that invitation to the world today. Thereâ€™s nothing left to pay for, nothing left to do. Not by works, but come as you are, and you can have life eternal. There are millions of people who will be in heaven, who never did much for God, but they believed the Gospel. There will be a lot of people lost forever, who may have labored assiduously in order to do something for the God whom they invented. But theyâ€™ll be lost because they did not believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So the significant thing we must remember is, the End-Time Challenge is not only to reach the world for Christ, but to do it in time, so that the greatest possible number of people who want to know Christ will be saved. There will be a time to rest. There will be a time to sit in the rocking chair and watch the rest of the world go by. But until then, let the time be used for God to reach others for Christ.
Thereâ€™s a call comes ringing oâ€™er the restless wave,
May God help us to see that, and meet the challenge of the Gospel, because there is coming a triumphant day for us. Donâ€™t miss it!
Triumph of the Light
Speaking about lightthe light of the Gospel, the light of Christ and the light of Christianitythis can cause someone to start thinking about an even wider truth that grows out of that. When we say, â€śThere is light, and there is darkness,â€ť we need to be careful, because we are not talking about the same thing.
Light is something. No one knows, in the final analysis, exactly what it is, although scientists have thought about it. Half of them have decided that light is wave motion that comes through the universe. The other half have decided that light is particles that move. So, light is still under a very real set of discussions. But for the Christian, thereâ€™s coming a time when light will be the triumphant reality of his life. For instance, the Bible gives us a very interesting statement: â€śAnd I saw no temple in it: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did illuminate it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night thereâ€ť (Rev. 21:22-25).
No darknessit is wonderful beyond discussion. Can you imagine the kind of lives that we would live and the kind of things weâ€™d accomplish, and the kind of joys that would be ours, if there was no night, and if we lived in the light, and that went on forever? You see, darkness is not somethingitâ€™s the absence of everything. But light is the opposite. It is the presence of everything. It is the total saturation of full reality into all of our lives, day and night, that brings â€śjoy unspeakable and full of gloryâ€ť (1 Peter 1:8). Thatâ€™s what light is. And even though it is mysterious in its nature, its reality is commissioned to each of us. As we have said, we are commissioned to bring that marvelous story of the light of the Gospel to an entire lost world.
What is this city that has no darkness, where the light always shines? Well, the Scripture says: â€śAnd I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their Godâ€ť (Rev. 21:1-3).
Really, as one of the great adventures of life, you should read Revelation Chapter 21, and for that matter, the entire Book of the Revelation. It moves us into a time when the banal and the small and the little things of life are all past, when the glories and the realities of heaven take over our lives, and they become the ambiance of everything. Weâ€™re looking forward to the day of the triumph of Light. Weâ€™re looking forward to the day when the Devil and his angels will be bound, never more to have their effect upon us. Weâ€™re looking forward to the light that shines forever, and never really fails. Itâ€™s not the light that fails; itâ€™s the light of reality forever.
May I, therefore, encourage every one of us to see that. Remember that light started in our lives when, in a world of darkness, we came to know Christ as personal Savior. The effect of light continued in our lives, as it moved more and more to become the broad reality of our total lives. It became the exciting challenge of life, when we gave ourselves to tell others of Jesus and His power to save. That canâ€™t be emphasized enough. Millions wait out there to hear the story of the light of the Gospel, which means theyâ€™re waiting for you and your testimony for Christ.
Finally, the Bible says, light will become the total reality of everything. Come into that city, the New Jerusalem. There is no darkness there. Itâ€™s all light! So the beginnings of the reality of light that we experienced in this world become the fullness of everything in the world that is to come. Light is the total of all of it. And that, while almost beyond description, will be the wonderful reality of it all. So think for just a moment about light, the privilege that you have and I have to have been overcome and illuminated by that light, and now, the marvelous fact that we are the light-bearers of the reality of God. We possess that torch of the Gospel, that even yet could cause things to shine from shore to shore. The Gospel reality now builds itself out through us and upon us to become the reality of eternity.
From the writings of Dave Breese
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