Born for Such a Time as This: Living in the very end of the Last Days … We are a Chosen Generation

endtms2All was bleakly ominous for the Jews of the Persian Empire around 475 B.C. when King Xerxes had been persuaded by his evil 2nd in command, Haman the Agagite, to issue an Edict “to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day”. And so it was that the godly Jew (and older cousin of Queen Esther) Mordecai, laid out for Esther a most risky and yet the only apparent option for preserving the Jewish nation and hence keeping the genealogy of Jesus Christ intact.

In response to Esther’s protestation about her own life being in danger in approaching the King without being summoned, Mordecai responded: “Do not imagine that you in the King’s Palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And, who knows but that you have come to royal position (royalty) for such a time as this?

We know from the final 6 chapters of the Book of Esther that the result of Esther’s brave involvement was God’s Sovereign Deliverance of His People, the Jews. Mordecai the Jew was given the office of 1st Minister to King Ahasuerus for about 8 years. The evil Haman was hung on the gallows he had constructed for the execution of Mordecai. The final verse in Esther tells us that Mordecai was known as “one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation”.

We see that Mordecai, a guardian for Esther, had been providentially placed in Esther’s life for her training as a young girl, then a young woman and then as a young queen, “for such a time”. In our own time, as we watch the “spread of evil” all around us, we have the Lord Jesus Who predicted that there will come a time when the “spread of evil” will be worse than it has ever been in all of history. Jesus knew what we, as His followers, would be experiencing before He returns. HE said: “Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:11,12) Do you notice, over these 15 years into the 21st century, that the hearts of people are growing cold toward God, the things of God, and the Word of God? We are living in a day and an age of increasing unbelief, skepticism, and atheism such as the world has never seen (this in what once was called “Western Christiandom”). People are saying: “There is no GOD, there is no Heaven, there is no Hell, there is no Final Judgment, there is no Accountability.” It all comes from the mindset that we are nothing more than animals, the product of the Darwinian evolutionary process.

The veteran broadcaster Brit Hume (ABC, then FOX) suggested in 2010 during a panel discussion that the troubled golfer Tiger Woods should consider Christianity as a way back to his family after multiple infidelities. Hume describes the media response to his suggestion: “Sharp criticism, and the question became, ‘Hume, are you going to take it back?’ Hume emphatically replied, “Of course I wasn’t going to do that.” (interview in Decision Magazine)

Another “hero” was interviewed Thursday evening (9-3) on the CBS News, in its final segment. Football coach of Villerica H.S. (outside Atlanta) was shown baptizing 18 of his football players, plus an assistant coach right after school and just before practice. The CBS interviewer seemed incredulous: “Was this all voluntary? (“Yes!”) “Would you do it again? (“Absolutely!”) I couldn’t help but exclaim, “Praise the LORD”!

Although these stories are encouraging, the sad truth is that many Christian denominations and organizations, pastors and leaders, are changing their standards to condone various forms of behavior that would have been unthinkable in earlier generations. My wife Sandra’s uncle and long-time Presbyterian pastor (now in Heaven) would stand with other conservative Presbyterian pastors at the annual convention inn Louisville, Kentucky, against the ordination of homosexual pastors, but now it’s become reality in that denomination as well as others. This “falling away in the church” is a prophesized end-time development: The Rise of the Apostate Church. The Scripture prophesizes that it will come, and now it seems to be coming upon us like a flood…..”A departure from the Truth, A deceptive Message, and A distortion of the Gospel”

The Scripture informs us that people in the Church will step away from long-held Biblical doctrines and truths, turn their backs on the things of God, walk away from God, and even promote themselves in the place of God. The Apostle Paul gives this prediction in 1st Timothy 4:1,2: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the Faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”

The term “falling away” translates the Greek term “apostasia”, from which we get the word “apostasy”. It means: “to stand away from something or depart from it, such as departing from a Standard of Truth. It is like someone saying, “I believe this to be true” and then turning around and walking away from it. He would depart from it. He would stand away from it. He would deny what he once affirmed. ….Perhaps such a one who once claimed he was “pro-life”, now has decided not to be involved, maybe even going so far as to deny God as the Creator of all men, women and children, saying that abortion is a “woman’s choice”. Early in their political careers Wm. J. Clinton and Edward M. Kennedy were “pro-life”, but then they walked away from this professed belief and standard.

The Apostle Paul also writes: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the Power of God unto Salvation.” (Romans 1:16) His proclamation and dependence upon the truth of the Gospel stands in stark contrast with the position of the Apostate Church who have opened themselves up to “that man of lawlessness who will be revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s Temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”

God’s Word is emphatic when warning us that False Prophets and False Teachers will arise in the last days. Eventually a False Church, an “Apostate Church”, will arise (under the control of that man of lawlessness, the Antichrist) and carry on religious functions, but will be completely opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It will deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Who stepped into the human race in human flesh. It will deny that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate Who Lived among us on earth for 33 years. It will deny that HE went to Calvary’s

Cross, Suffered, Bled, and Died on our behalf. And, the Apostate Church will deny that Jesus Christ took on Himself the sins of the world and Died, not as a martyr, but as the Lamb of God, Who carried the sins of all mankind. And, they will deny that HE Rose from the dead in a literal Resurrection, Walked (arose) out of the tomb, Showed the scars of the wounds on His Hands and Feet to His Disciples, and said to them: “Be not faithless, but believing. Thomas, put your finger in the nail print, and see that it is really ME”.

There are two (2) major events in our country this summer which are accelerating the speed of the Apostasy, or “falling away from the faith”. First, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to “redefine marriage”, and secondly, the series of undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s role in the nation-wide buying and selling of the organs of aborted infants.

Quoting journalist Brit Hume, on his TV program “Special Report”: “Abortion involves the extraction and killing of a human life, which within a couple of weeks of pregnancy has a beating heart. Five weeks in, its hands and legs begin to grow. It is these tiny creatures, and too often ones that are far more developed, that are pulled from a mother’s womb and crushed with forceps. This gruesome procedure shows the extent to which we as a people have been anesthetized by the estimated 55 million- 55 million abortions performed since the U.S. Supreme Court “discovered” a Constitutional right to that procedure 42 years ago.”

A little over two(2) months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court, acting as a “super legislature”, and by a 5 to 4 vote, nullified many states’ traditional laws concerning marriage and created what is called “gay marriage”. Five (5) lawyers in black robes redefined the ages-old institution of natural marriage and presumed to deconstruct and redefine the institution of marriage.

Evangelist James Robison had this to say about the Supreme Court’s re-defining of marriage: “Who would ever have believed our Blessed Nation, the United States of America, the nation that threw off the evil of slavery and recognized the freedom and dignity of all humans, could descend into such depths of depravity? A sexual perversity harmful to the bodies and souls of those who participate in it is now being celebrated and officially labeled as ‘marriage’.”

How shall we, as followers of Christ, respond for ‘such a time as this’? As James Robison has said, “It is only the Grace and Mercy of God that prevents our nation from being destroyed.”

He goes on to say, “God is still our shelter, but if as a nation we continue on the present rebellious course, the Hedge of Protection will come down. We are already seeing it happen.”

God’s Word instructs us to make up our minds to live fearlessly in these last days, “for God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a Spirit of Power, of Love, and of Self-Discipline (a ‘sound mind’)”. To the Thessalonians Paul wrote: “Concerning the Coming of our LORD Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed (‘soon shaken in mind’…’be troubled’) from your composure or be disturbed by some prophecy, report, or a letter as if from us, saying that the Day of the LORD has already come.”

Paul wrote his 2 letters to the Church at Thessalonica at about 51 A.D to warn them about events that would occur before the Coming of the LORD. He wanted to prepare them so that major world events wouldn’t take them off guard and throw them into a state of panic. The reign of the brutal, murderous Nero was to start 3 years later, followed by the sacking of Jerusalem by Titus and his Roman legions in 70 A.D. The KJ translation says “..that ye be not soon shaken in mind”. Paul was urging his readers (and us!) to resist being easily shaken by events that will occur just before the Coming of Jesus. The Greek word for ‘mind’ is ‘nous’, which describes ‘everything in the realm of the intellect, including one’s will, emotions, and ability to think, reason and decide.”

It is true that whoever or whatever controls a person’s mind, ultimately has the power to dictate the affairs and even the ultimate outcome of that person’s life. So, if someone allows their mind to be overcome with panic or fear, then they are putting fear in charge of their life. Paul wanted his readers (and us!) to remain in peace regardless of any tumultuous events that might transpire about them; his Holy Spirit Inspired Word urges them (and ourselves) not to allow fear to penetrate their minds, wills and emotions.

Colossians 3:15 instructs us to “..let the Peace of God rule in our hearts”. Verse 16 then says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” When the Word of God dwells richly in our lives, it produces peace – so much supernatural peace that it actually rules our hearts.

The word “rule” that is used in Colossians 3:15 is the Greek word “brabeuo”, which describes “an umpire who calls all the shots and makes all the decisions”. When God’s Word is dwelling richly in our hearts, it is the Peace of God making all the big decisions, calling all the shots, and umpiring all of our emotions.

I think this must have been the case 6 months ago when ISIS led 20 Coptic Christians to a Mediteranean beach where each gave a strong Christian testimony just before being beheaded. After hearing these testimonies, another man, never before professing Christ, his life on the line, spoke out: “Their God is my God!” Like the thief on the cross, we know we will one day meet this man in the company of those clothed in white, God’s martyrs.

Are we “born for such a time as this? I think those 20, and finally 21 Coptic Christian martyrs were….their martyrdom becoming one of the most powerful sermons of the 21st century….giving courage and encouragement to many more who would follow.

Some of you know that our late son, Nathan, was a great fan of “The LORD of the Rings” trilogy. Perhaps the most memorable lines out of this remarkable Tolkien work come when Frodo says to Gandolph, “I wish the Ring had never come to me”, and Gandolph responds, “So do all who live in such times. Our only choice is to use the time given to us.”

In light of all this, and all that is happening about us, my dear brothers and sisters, our ultimate victory is still certain. The ultimate bible prophecies focus on the TRIUMPH OF CHRIST and who else? HIS BRIDE, THE CHURCH! We shall share in His victorious reign, and whatever transpires in the meantime must be viewed in the Light of our Eternal Destiny. Peter Marshall, US Senate Chaplain (1935-1049) said: “It is better to fail at a cause that will ultimately succeed, than to succeed in a cause that will ultimately fail.”

All seems bleakly ominous in September 2015…it is now a dark day, but more than ever it is a time to call upon God: “It is time for Thee, LORD, to work; for they have made void (broken) Thy Law” Psalm 119:126. I believe HE is getting ready to work, bringing the “power of His might” against the forces of darkness sweeping over our country, our churches, this generation, but HE is listening for the Voice of Prayer from His Church in America. Will HE hear it? And will there be a remnant for “such a time as this” who will, at all costs, hear HIM, lift Christ’s banner high, and obey?

A young African martyr wrote these words in his prison cell before he died: “I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed, the die has been cast, I have stepped over the line, the decision has been made-I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ-I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure—I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals. – My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I won’t give up, shut up, let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up for the cause of Jesus Christ…..I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till everyone knows, work till He stops me and when He comes for His own, He will have no trouble recognizing me because my banner will have been clear.”

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