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The End Times, to fear or not to fear?

     We’ve finished our introduction to the end times and both of our Q&A sessions, but this week someone asked, “How do I maintain my strength in God during the darkness of the end times?” That’s a really good question. Since Jesus, Paul, Peter and John all speak about how challenging those end times will be, how in the world are the children of God supposed to make it through? Let me briefly summarize seven big answers:

1.       The end times means Jesus is coming soon! About his coming, he personally says, “I’m coming soon and my reward is with me.” (Rev. 22:12). We’re going to be with him…he’s going to reward us for our faithfulness…and we’re going to live with him forever! The prophecy of Matthew 24 and Revelation give us signs that point to the return of Jesus, which is the hope of the nations and perhaps the Church’s number one encouragement!

2.       We will be encouraged as we see God following through on his promise to judge evil for his glory and our good. The fulfillment of the prophecies will be proof that all he’s written to us in the book of Revelation and the rest of Scripture are true. Remember, he is pouring out his wrath for us, not on us.

3.       The book of Revelation will be far more important to us in the end times than it may appear in our present time to some. It gives the followers of Christ a road map telling us what to expect. It will be a great comfort to those who walk through the time of trouble.

4.       The Holy Spirit in every believer will help us strengthen and encourage one another as we walk in community. The child of God is not going to walk through this alone.

5.       The followers of Christ will operate in greater power in the face of greater trouble. I believe we will see the Holy Spirit move in the Church like we did in the book of Acts. I believe he does this now, but it will be more common. The Church will serve a very important role in the end times (see 2 Cor. 5:17-21). God has given us everything we need to fulfill our role to his glory (2 Pet. 1:3). Fulfilling God’s call faithfully will energize us.

6.       God always provides more grace–more love we don’t deserve–when we walk through times of trouble, seeking him. In James 4:6 he tells us that God is drawn to the humble, giving them more grace while he opposes the proud.

7.       We need to draw closer to God right now as Jesus directs in Matthew 25. Through a parable, Jesus tells us that now is the time to press in closer to him and build trust in that relationship. Whether we go through the tribulation or another generation does, our actions today model for the next generation how we should pursue Jesus. (Your view of the timing of the rapture doesn’t change this since we know there will be Christians in the tribulation.)

The Church won’t walk through the end times like strolling through a park– it will be challenging. It will be a struggle, like a battle–but it’s the right battle and one that our Lord will win on our behalf. As God says in 1 Thessalonians 4:18, “Encourage one another with these words.”

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