The second in a short series of sermons under the general heading of – “Watching and waiting for the return of Christ”
Location ….. Location ….. Location as they say in the property market. We now need to move our location from the WORLD to the CHURCH and its accompanying signs.
Jesus never promised that following after him would be easy (Matthew 16 v 24); but in the so called “last days” it will get all the more difficult and the following signs of his nearness will be manifest in his church. It will be:-
1 – A Pressurised Church.
Such pressure will be caused by the Following signs:-
A – Distress – Christians will be falsely accused, arrested and persecuted (2 Timothy 3 v 12.)
B – Death – Some, like Stephen the first Christian martyr, (Acts 7 & 8) will pay the ultimate price for their faith.
C – Disdain – Christians will be hated because of their faith (John 15 v 18 – 19) not just at an individual level, but at an international level by “ALL NATIONS.”
D – Deception – False prophets will appear within the church itself with an appealing, but heretical message (2 Timothy 4 v 3)
2 – A Purged Church.
In the “last days” the church will not be a growing church, but a shrinking church characterised by the following signs:-
A – Defection – The pressures mentioned above will result in the mass defection of nominal Christians (2 Timothy 4 v 10) as “MANY” break under the strain. And as a result of all the wickedness in the world the spiritual temperature of the lives of “MOST” believers will drop dramatically.
B – Defiance – Genuine believers will persevere to the end (John 10 v 28) being kept by God’s enduring giving power (1 Peter 1 v 5.)
3 – A Proclaiming Church.
A slimmed down, lean church that has been reduced to a community of the committed will then engage in the sign of:-
A – Declaration – They will take seriously the words of the Great Commission (Matthew 28 v 19) and embrace the mandate of world evangelization as they proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom.
While all these signs have appeared throughout Church history, as the time of Jesus’ return gets nearer they will increase in ferocity and intensity and point towards his imminent arrival.
Challenge – Will you be ready if you have to live through these days?
Theme: “A Firm Faith, Despite The Flak”
Reading: Matthew 24 v 9 – 14
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Beverley Sills