LAST THINGS - ESCHATOLOGY

Reading: 2 Peter 3:1-18

 

    INTRODUCTION

 
 
    [a] Now if I were to say  to you the word ESCHATOLOGY, you would
    probably  tell me to speak in English!
    [b] It is however, a word  used  in  Biblical theology to describe  the
    STUDY  OF LAST THINGS.
    [c] Because we  find  so  much  nonsense  bordering  on  the  VERGE  OF
    LUNACY,  spoken  about  "THE  LAST  DAYS",  many  people,  (Christians
    included) throw up their arms in confusion not knowing what to believe!
    [d] Whilst there can  be  minor  differences  in  evangelical  teaching
    on  the subject, I want us in these few moments to take  a  solid  look
    at  some  basic fundamental  teaching,  held  by Bible based Christians
    the world over.
    [e] Some people treat  it  as  unimportant,  and  shrug their shoulders
    with  a  "So what?"
    [f] IF THE WORLD IS ON THE VERGE OF  COMING TO AN END - I FOR ONE  WANT
    TO  KNOW ABOUT IT, AND TELL OTHERS TOO!!
 

    THE DAY OF GRACE

 
    [a] You have perhaps at one time or another heard someone mention  that
    we  are presently living in what  is  known as THE DAY OR  DISPENSATION
    OF GRACE.
    [b] Grace, as you are no  doubt  aware,  means  the FAVOUR OF GOD BEING
    SHOWN TO YOU AND ME WHEN WE IN NO WAY DESERVE IT! IN OTHER WORDS -
    SALVATION CANNOT BE BOUGHT! IT CANNOT  BE  WORKED FOR! THERE IS ONE WAY
    ONLY  OF OBTAINING GOD'S SALVATION -  IT  IS THE FREE AVAILABLE GIFT OF
    GOD TO EVERY MAN WOMAN  AND CHILD IN THIS WORLD!!
    [c] However, the fact that we speak  of a DAY or DISPENSATION of grace,
    shows that it will not always be so!
    In other words there will COME A  DAY  when the DOOR WILL BE SHUT!  THE
    GRACE  OF GOD WILL NO LONGER FLOW  -  A  day when the SALVATION OF  GOD
    WILL  NO  LONGER  BE OFFERED TO SINFUL MANKIND!
    [d] "Grace is flowing like a river" we sing, and so it is! But one day,
    we  will be able to sing those words no longer, because the opportunity
    for man to repent and become a Christian as we know it, will be forever
    past!!
    [e] The Day of Grace in which  we  live, opened at Calvary, when Christ
    paid  the penalty for our sin - AND  IT  WILL CLOSE AT WHAT WE CALL THE
    RAPTURE, when  Jesus will come  again,  and take every  TRUE  Christian
    to  Himself. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, we read,
    "For the Lord Himself shall descend  from  heaven with a shout, with
    the voice of the archangel, and  with  the  trump of God: and the  dead
    in  Christ  shall  rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall
    be caught up together with  them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the
    air: and so shall we  ever  be  with  the Lord."
    JESUS WILL RETURN TO THE AIR, AND WE  WILL  BE CAUGHT UP TO MEET HIM IN
    THE AIR!
 
    [f] In our main campaign film in  November, called THEIF IN  THE NIGHT,
    this  is very vividly portrayed!
    CAN YOU GET A MENTAL PICTURE OF A WORLD IN  WHICH  A  LARGE  PERCENTAGE
    OF  THE PEOPLE WILL DISAPPEAR SUDDENLY WITHOUT TRACE - IRRESPECTIVE  OF
    WHAT  THEY  ARE DOING??
    [g] It could be when they  are  flying  over  the Atlantic in a plane -
    maybe  even the pilot!!
    Jesus said two could be  together  in  the  field  -  ONLY ONE would be
    taken!
    He said that two could be together sleeping  in a bed - ONLY  ONE would
    be taken!
    THESE ARE REALITIES EACH ONE OF  US  MUST  FACE  UP TO AND BE REALISTIC
    ABOUT!!
 
 

    TRUE CHRISTIANS - THE RESPONSIBILITY

 
    [a] We are under  a  continual  obligation  to  stress  over  and  over
    again,  that those who  will  rise  to  meet  the  Lord,  are  composed
    entirely  of  BORN  AGAIN CHRISTIANS! NO ONE ELSE!!
    i. Many sincere CHURCH MEMBERS WILL  BE  LEFT BEHIND, because they were
    not saved!
    ii. Many who BELIEVE SINCERELY IN  THE TEACHING OF  FALSE  CULTS,  WILL
    BE  LEFT BEHIND, because they put their faith in the wrong thing!
    iii. For many, on the verge of making decisions for Christ, it will  be
    ALMOST, BUT LOST! They waited too long!
    [b] The Salvation Army has always  strongly propagated the message that
    there  IS ONLY ONE WAY TO HEAVEN  and  that is through NO OTHER but the
    Lord  Jesus   Christ Himself!
    [c] Whilst everyone is  entitled  to  hold  whatever  belief they  wish
    through  the freewill God has  given  us  each  one, it DOES NOT FOLLOW
    THAT  EVERY  VIEW  IS  AS CORRECT! IT IS PLAINLY NOT!
    [d] The true Christian is totally convinced by the  Word  of  God  that
    he,  or she is entrusted with the  life-giving truth  of  God,  and  is
    therefore UNDER OBLIGATION, even  at  the  risk  of  giving offence, to
    present the message!
 

    THE CERTAINTY OF GOD'S CHILDREN

 
    [a]  Of  necessity,  this  means,  challenging  those  in  error,   and
    presenting  them  with  the  truth!!  If  we  take  the  line  of least
    resistance, we are   certainly   NOT  DOING  THE  WILL  OF  GOD in this
    respect!
    [b] The Child of God today must   be  100  per-cent sure of the Bible's
    teaching, and STAND FIRM WITHOUT ANY COMPROMISE FOR THE TRUTH OF GOD!!
    [c] It is nauseating to listen to professing Christians say,
    "Who are we to say WE are right and everyone else is wrong?"
    GOD HELP THEM, POOR SOULS! They  probably know more about  their  local
    football team than they do about their  faith! One day they will regret
    their neglect!!
    GOD HAS NOT GIVEN US A  CHRISTIANITY   OF  DOUBT!  BUT  RATHER  ONE  OF
    FACT  AND CERTAINTY!
    [d] JESUS IS....JESUS IS.....JESUS IS COMING BACK!!
    Is He coming  to find a group of people who don't know what end of them
    is up??
    People who seem to doubt the very promises He made them in Scripture!
    The Bible speaks about the dangers  of  the warning trumpet  giving  an
    uncertain sound!
    [e] WE MUST NOTE! WE  CANNOT  SHIRK  OUR  RESPONSIBILITY TO THIS WORLD!
    ESPECIALLY IN THESE, THE CLOSING  DAYS  OF  TIME  WHEN  WE STAND ON THE
    VERY  DOORSTEP  OF  THE COMING AGAIN OF CHRIST!
    [f] The tragedy today is that false cults seem to be surer of what they
    believe, than many of the Christians are - and it shows!
 
 

    THERE IS NO SECOND CHANCE

 
    [a] Let us be  crystal  clear  that  after  the  return  of  the  Lord,
    there  is  NO
    SECOND CHANCE to become a Christian!
    [b] Many people, perhaps  willingly,  have  the  wool pulled over their
    eyes in this respect today.  They  hope  against hope, that their loved
    ones will get some  kind of a second  chance to be saved, after death -
    or after the return of the Lord!
    [c] "After all" they will say, "God is  a God of love - He's not  going
    to  damn anyone because of their sin!"
    [d] Here is what Jesus says in Luke 13:23-28,
    "Then said one unto Him, 'Lord are  there few that be saved?' And He
    said  unto them, 'Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many I say
    unto you will  seek to enter in,  and  shall not be able." In  v.27-28,
    "He shall say, I tell  you,  I know  you not whence ye are; depart from
    me all ye  workers  of  iniquity.   There shall be weeping and gnashing
    of teeth, when ye shall see  Abraham  and  Isaac, and Jacob and all the
    prophets,   in   the   Kingdom   of   God,  and  ye  yourselves  thrust
    out."
 

    THE DOOR WILL BE SHUT

 
    [a] Jesus in Matthew 24:37-39, rightly likens the last days to the days
    of Noah, just prior  to  the  judgement  of  the flood upon sinful
    mankind!
    [b] The warning had been given clearly  -  they could see the ark being
    built!!
    However, they took no notice!
    [c] In Genesis 7:16,  we  read  some  solemn  words  telling us that it
    was........
    GOD WHO SHUT THE DOOR!
    [d] God is going to shut the door again! There will be many on the very
    doorstep of the Kingdom! BUT THEY WILL BE SHUT OUT AND DAMNED!!
    [e] Remember the parable which Jesus told of the ten virgins!
    Five of them were too late  -  THE  DOOR  WAS  SHUT  - AND THERE WAS NO
    ENTRY!!
    [f] There are those who  say,  that  because  it's  the  best  part  of
    2,000  years since  Jesus  said,  "I  will  come  again!"   then
    obviously we must be mistaken!
    "Where is the promise of His coming?"
    [g] The reason for the delay is shown in verse 9 of our reading.
    It is because God loves each person so  very  much - IT IS NOT HIS WILL
    THAT  ANY SHOULD PERISH!! He is giving  the unsaved as long as possible
    to accept Him!
    [h] Even though the Day of the Lord  will   be coming as a THIEF IN THE
    NIGHT, come it will! PERHAPS A LOT SOONER THAN MANY OF US THINK!!
 
 

    CONCLUSION

 
    [a] There is so much more  every  Christian  should be doing for God in
    these  last days! Perhaps there is much in our lives for which we would
    be ashamed if  Jesus returned at this moment!
    [b] If we knew that Jesus was coming  back at the end of this week, HOW
    WOULD  WE CHANGE OUR LIFESTYLE??
    [c] How many of our friends and loved  ones would we go and PLEAD  WITH
    to  make themselves right with God.
    Their opinion of us  would no longer  matter. OUR ONLY THOUGHT WOULD BE
    FOR THEIR SOUL'S WELFARE!
    [d] I feel we would weep tears  for  so many, to  try  and  sweep  them
    into  the Kingdom, before it would be too late!
    [e] That is the sort of life  the  Lord  expects us to live - just now!
    After all -
    JESUS COULD RETURN - TONIGHT!
 
 
 
    SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK
 
    SONG               TUNE
    155                300
    Prayer Chorus 133
    Chorus "I want to Share my Faith"
    "He's coming Soon"
    717                241
    824                509