I received a letter from one of our MemberPartners yesterday about these posts this week about the end times. In it he mentioned how his dad, who was an evangelical missionary in the 1970s, used to tell him when he was in high school that he might not make it to college, get married or have kids, because the end of the world was right around the corner. He also mentioned how his father and his team supported the Israelis religiously, no matter what they did to the Palestinians. They did this because prophesy said that Israel will become a state, the Jews would return and rebuild the temple. “That of course would be the final reason for the end time because that action would FORCE Jesus to return,” he wrote. And so they got behind any efforts to support Israel because they believed they could manipulate Christ’s return.
Does this strike anybody as being rather selfish — kind off like shutting the door of the ark on anyone who might want to be saved? I’m glad this man’s dad and his friends didn’t get their way, because we wouldn’t be here today and millions who have been saved in the last 50 years would never have had a chance to come to Christ.
This tells me something. Those guys, even though they were missionaries, must not have had any real relationships with non-Christians, because had they, they would have been pleading with the Lord to wait longer, so friends that they knew and love would have a chance to respond to God’s gracious offer of salvation through Christ.
So do we want to speed up the return of Christ? That depends a lot on who you know and who you love. Imagine if all that attention that went to Israel in order to get Christ to return sooner, went instead to helping people spread the news of the gospel of welcome through relationships with people for whom Christ died.
Peter tells us what Jesus thinks: “The Lord is not slow about His promise [to return], as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). You think the Lord is taking His time coming back? That’s why. He tells us very plainly.
We want the Lord to take His time with this. More time means more opportunity to introduce more people to the gospel of welcome — grace turned outward — to everyone, everywhere.
Excuse me Pastor John, I cud be wrong I surely have been before, yet this is such in my opinion a self righteous, Pharisaical statement: ” Those guys, even though they were missionaries, must not have had any real relationships with non-Christians, because had they, they would have been pleading with the Lord to wait longer, so friends that they knew and love would have a chance to respond to God’s gracious offer of salvation through Christ. ”
So who & what gives you the right to Judge them and how do you know this is true!?!
It DUMBFOUNDED me that you cud even think of writing as Minster of the Gospel of Grace! I thought it’s clearly written Only God can Judge!!! Just b/c you might not agree with a part of their Doctrine… So what???? How does that give you the right to play God and judge them & their friendships?
I FRIMLY believe as I learned in College when someone feels as need to put down others, it’s usually a reflection of their low self-esteem making an appearance simply b/c they haven’t yet read how to build good self esteem books.
Let me plz say the reason I liked what I learned in college in regards about putting someone down, for ANYTHING it’s usually a reflection of my low self – esteem!
I remember those days so well. Being newly saved…through end times evangelism…making Jesus Lord of my life in the distant future. We all thought we were ready for The Rapture. I even had a bumper sticker on my ’74 Charger that read, IN CASE OF RAPTURE THIS CAR WILL BE UN-MANNED! (Some people mis-read it as RUPTURE!)
I witnessed, using the same end-times theology, and managed to lead a few to Jesus. I was focused on me not going through The Great Tribulation, and really gave no thought to God’s big picture. We were all so young and immature in so many spiritual ways.
Because of that, we were selfish. Now, 50 years later, I’m not in such a big rush. I know, in my heart, there are still things for me to do, and I try my best to do them.
So, I guess I’m selfish in a different way. I want Jesus to delay His return so that seeds that were planted take root and grow. I need to trust Him truly and still fail miserably.
But, thank God, “He who has begun a good work, will complete it.” Phillipians 1:6
I hope there’s some sense in my ramblings. Bless you.
Dear Sandie, In love this & can relate: “I need to trust Him truly and still fail miserably.” Me too!!!!
And GREAT verse to end your comments… Also, you made complete sense to me!
I remember being in churches that told the end times were near and how it used to worry me!! Before I got engaged or married, the 3 day war happened in Israel in 1967 and I remember asking God to please wait to come back after I got married and had a family!!! I know Jesus could return any time but the thing I think about is that we just need to be faithful in telling others the good news of Jesus and leave the timing of His return to Him!!
I remember as a new believer in college, praying the rapture would happen before finals (LOL).