For a period of time now, I have been pondering certain New Testament scriptures that are warnings for the Body of Christ in the last days. I wonder how many of us give careful attention to what the Holy Spirit is saying, as He prepares believers to stand in these trying times. Scriptures tells us that the end of days will be “perilous times,” when everything that can be shaken, will be shaken (2 Tim. 3:1; 2 Thess. 2:2) If we are alert to the Spirit of God, I believe we will see evidence of this very thing starting to take place.
Many Pastors I have spoken with recently indicate about 30-40% of their congregation have gone AWAL since the shutdowns by Covid-19 last year. I have spoken with other pastors who tell me they have members leaving being caught up in conspiracy theories which are circulating. Now, I am not supporting or denying some of the claims these theories endorse, but what does concern me is the distracted focus of believers and what is drawing their attention away from the real purpose we are to serve in the earth.
Let me site a scripture that Paul shares with Timothy, and us, if we are taking heed to the day we live in. The strategy of the devil has always been to reduce the effectiveness of the Body of Christ, knowing he will then be able to hinder the progress of the Gospel.
2 Tim 4:1-5 “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Col 2:4-8 “I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong. And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.”
We live in a “season” forewarned by God on how to stand and persevere; a time when the love of many will wax cold and where people will be diverted from the truth to follow empty philosophies and teachings of men. We are told as believers to be watchful, on guard, and vigilant so we can persevere and remain focused on the task at hand; to do the work of an evangelist, sharing the Gospel of Christ. The message that should consume our heart and thoughts is the message of the saving grace of God found in Jesus Christ! When the proclamation of the Gospel is at the center of your life, it helps to keep your life on course. But when something else or another message becomes your focus it is dangerous ground that opens one up to deceptions.
Our roots are to go down deep into Christ. One of the things that means for me is to always be aware of the source of my actions. If I am not compelled by agape love, then I need to do a check-up on my motivations and what is behind any words, actions, thoughts or ideas.
When I listen to the different conspiracy theories and to the believers sharing them, one thing I notice is the things they represent create a chasm and stir up attitudes of retaliation and retribution. These theories separate believer from believer and also believers from the lost. You cannot attract what you despise. How then can we have an effective witness?
Bottom line… the thing I have in my heart is to caution believers. No message is more important than the Message of the Gospel. Any motivation other than Agape love the Bible calls sin! I, for one, want to fulfill the ministry God has given me and be found faithful, not to the philosophies of man but to the Lord Jesus and the commission He gave. I want to guard my heart, remain strong and finish my course. How about you?