Church of the Last Days

The church is the battlefield where the final war is waged between the Lamb and the “Ancient Serpent,” Satan .  The book of Revelation is addressed to seven first-century churches in Asia, and it deals with their real-life trials and tribulations. In the process, it presents messages relevant to all churches throughout the present age. Their daily struggles are a microcosm of the ongoing cosmic battle between Jesus and the “ Dragon ” - [ Photo by Ibrahim Alonge on Unsplash ].

Leap for Joy!

When disciples are persecuted for their faith, they are to rejoice for being accounted “worthy” to suffer for Jesus .  In the experience of the church, the outbreak of persecution is always a possibility, and believers often face hostility from employers, neighbors, and even family members. So, how should they react when the possibility becomes a sudden reality? Fortunately, both Jesus and his apostles left us with clear instructions and examples - [ Photo by Cam Adams on Unsplash ].

He Poured Himself Out

Christ’s submission to an unjust death is the paradigm for Christian love and service that disciples are summoned to emulate .  In his letter to the Philippians, Paul points to the obedience of Jesus as the model for proper conduct by his disciples. His willing submission to death on the Roman cross sets the pattern for his followers. And his subsequent elevation over all things is the result of that “ obedience to death ,” for exaltation did not precede death, but followed it - [ Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash ].

Suffering and Discipleship

To follow Jesus means self-denial and a willingness to suffer, and for disciples, persecution is the highest honor – Matthew 5:10-12 .  For disciples, retaliation and violence are NOT appropriate reactions when persecution occurs. Rather than respond in kind, they must meet threats with humility, mercy, and love. That is what it means to “ deny yourself ” and “ take up his cross .” And while praying for one’s “ enemies ” is contrary to the “ wisdom of this age ,” it epitomizes the paradigm of Christ crucified  -[ Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash ].

Day of Wrath

The day of “wrath” is coming when the wicked will pay the ultimate price for their disobedience to God – Romans 2:5 .  The proclamation of the gospel unveils two forces that are at work in the world - “ righteousness ” and “ wrath .” But they will produce two very different results - “ salvation ” and “ destruction .” One will culminate in the “ day of wrath and God’s righteous judgments ,” the other in salvation, resurrection, and new creation - [ Photo by Dominik QN on Unsplash ].