Why we need to be watchful and prepared during these perilous times
How often do you hear messages that warn? More often than not, believers are fed a steady stream of comforting messages of God’s promises and blessings. Now there is nothing absolutely wrong with the latter but don’t you think some balance is necessary?
In order to live victoriously in these turbulent end times, we need to be alert and vigilant. Scriptures abound with end time warnings which believers would do well to take heed. Here are five such warnings:
Jesus gave ample warning that false prophets will appear and lead many astray. By performing signs and wonders, these ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ attract many followers.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15)
“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).
We need both in-depth knowledge of scriptures and the Holy Spirit to discern whether miracles or supernatural manifestations are from God or not. Just as not all that glitters is gold, not everything supernatural is of divine origin.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
These false prophets, who are actually agents of Satan (2 Corinthians 11: 13-14), seem to be God’s servants in the eyes of gullible believers. But their nefarious schemes will be revealed on judgment day when Jesus declares them as evildoers.
Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness. (Matthew 7: 22-23)
“Feel good” teachers
These teachers draw a huge following because they cherry pick the pleasant parts of scripture—promises and blessings—and present it to those who prefer ear-tickling, soothing messages.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Interestingly, the themes about trials and tribulations, self-denial, discipline and the need to persevere in order to inherit eternal life are downplayed or avoided.
Typically, they feed you with adulterated half-truths such as:
- God loves you and He will never point out your faults or convict you of sin.
- You just need to believe (intellectual assent) and you are saved; repentance is not necessary.
- God wants you to be wealthy as Jesus was wealthy when He walked on this earth.
Pleasant but errant half-truths may lead many believers along the path of complacency—and may even cause some to lose their inheritance, which is eternal life.
“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1Timothy 4:16).
Worldly distractions and worries
The Parable of the Sower illustrates the fact that we can allow “thorns” in our life to choke the seed (God’s word) so that we remain fruitless. Now, what do these thorns represent? They symbolise the ‘worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things’ (Mark 4:19).
Christ repeatedly warns believers to be watchful and ready to stand before the coming King, not distracted by worldly attractions, fleshly cravings, and the cares and concerns of life.
“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21: 34-36)
Spiritual decline—the great falling away—is one of the signs of the end times. Christ warns that many will fall away due to persecution, lawlessness and deception (Matthew 24: 9-13).
Without any regard to God, man clings on to things that reflect luxury and opulence. Many have become lovers of self, lovers of money and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-4). They are consumed by the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17).
Paul writes that Christ will not return unless there is a falling away first and the antichrist is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2: 3). http://bit.ly/1PFkRlh
Will we take the path of least resistance, swept by the relentless tide of sin and lawlessness, or will we make a stand for truth?
“Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12).
Will Christ return to earth as the gentle babe or sacrificial lamb? No. He is coming back as the Lion of Judah, the King of Kings, to judge the earth. His return as the ultimate Judge reflects His character—for He is the personification of grace and truth, not grace alone (John 1:17).
Many believers think that since they are saved, they will not have to face judgment. But such thinking is not aligned with scripture.
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? (1 Peter 4:17-18)
Some believers think that this judgment is merely with respect to the quantum of reward they will receive and that, no matter what happens, they will eventually be saved. Such thinking, however, does not hold water in light of the Parable of the Ten Virgins. http://bit.ly/1MA1h8F
The above FIVE warnings may make us feel nervous and fearful. However, we need not be dismayed.
Though Christ will come again like a thief in the night, we won’t have a rude awakening if we are alert, vigilant and prepared:
“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night”(1Thessalonians 5: 2).
“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5: 4-9).
The pursuit signs and wonders—even if we can feel the so-called presence of God, or experience miraculous healing—has its dangers if sound doctrine is compromised. When we exalt signs and wonders to the extent that doctrine, scholarship and discernment are all downplayed, red flags go up.
These three areas of deception are just as alive today as they were in the Corinthian church long ago.
Will there be a time when many believers lose faith in God?
Just believe and every spiritual blessing is yours. Be happy because you have already bought an instant ticket to heaven. Repentance is merely a change of way of thinking. No need to emphasise obedience as it will nullify God’s grace. Don’t worry about working out your faith, self-denial, endurance or overcoming because nothing you do or fail to do will cause you to lose favour in God’s sight. After all, future sins are automatically forgiven. And once you are saved, it means you are always secure. You merely need to rest on the imputed righteousness of Christ; God will always see you as pure.
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END TIME WARNINGS
Why we need to be watchful and prepared during these perilous times
Scriptures abound with end time warnings which believers would do well to take heed. Here are five such warnings: http://bit.ly/2pHCgWK
Note: Dr Lim Poh Ann is a medical practitioner. He was the former editor of Asian Beacon magazine (Dec 2008 – Oct 2011). He can be reached at his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AskDrLi
SOURCE OF ARTICLE: http://limpohann.blogspot.my/2017/04/end-time-warnings.html
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Dr Lim Poh Ann