Not Again!

Well, it’s happening again–some people have supposedly figured out that the Lord will come again this Saturday, September 23, 2017.  I’m not sure of their exact calculations, but I’ve been told it’s based on some counting of Jubilee years. Now for all I know these folks could be right–but I’m still going to have a sermon ready for Sunday, just in case.

Repeatedly the Lord’s disciples asked Him when the Day of the Lord would occur, and repeatedly, Jesus told them to mind their own business.  Now it seems to me that, if being faithful involves listening to God’s commands and obeying them, then the folks who keep trying to pick the date when the heavens will roll back and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father, then, the folks who find messages hidden in the Bible text are straight up sinning.

I’m never quite sure why eschatological speculations are so pervasive in American Christianity.  Why can we not be content with the work God has given us to do and allow the hidden things of God’s plan to remain hidden?  Isn’t there something almost demonic about trying to discern those things known only to God?  Doesn’t attempting to know the things God has told us we are not to know seem very much like Satan’s temptation in the Garden of Eden?  “Go ahead,” the serpent told Eve, “eat it and you will be like God.”  Now the enemy says go ahead, don’t spend your time on teaching and baptizing and things like that, spend it trying to figure out when the Day of the Lord will be.

Now I know there are many good and faithful Christians who have been taught to spend their time thinking about this stuff.  But friends, it’s just plain wrong.  It’s bad Biblical study and it’s a waste of the precious time God has given us to do the work He prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

So my advice to anyone who reads this is to stop worrying about the end of time and focus instead on who you’re going to tell about Jesus today.  Because today is the only day we can know for sure.

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Obituaries

I usually check the obituaries every morning before I go to the church.  I want to see if there is anyone listed who could be connected to a member of my congregation so I can be what they call proactive if that happens.  Some obituaries are long and filled with all sorts of details of the person’s life.  Others are short on information.  But all of them mention the people who are grieving the impact of the death of a loved one on their lives.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is the decline in the number of people with a church affiliation.  We used to at least see that someone was “of the Protestant faith”, but now we don’t even see that.  Instead all we find are that they were alive and did stuff, now they’re dead and we’ll have a party to talk about them.  It practically breaks my heart to see how many people are going to spend their eternity outside the presence of God–frankly, in hell.

When I perform a funeral (and I only perform funerals–never life celebrations) my sermon is always an evangelistic sermon.  I know that there is almost always someone in front of me who does not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and at least on that day they’re going to hear the Gospel.   As someone else wrote recently, a funeral is not about the deceased and it’s not about those who remain–it’s about Jesus and His substitutionary death on the Cross and His resurrection from the grave, the first among many.  If I know the deceased was a believer we’ll close the service singing Victory in Jesus.

What do you want your obituary to say to the world about you?  Do you want it to recount your successes in this life?  Maybe you want it to say how much you loved your family or your dog and how much you liked playing golf or bingo.  I guess an obituary can have many things in it without going over the top.  But I pray that the one thing it will say to the world is that you confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead that you might be saved unto eternity.