The magnificent hope of the Christian is the return of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Before that great day, however, the Scriptures reveal that the times will be extremely difficult, the days will be extremely dark. Love will decrease as lawlessness increases. There will be an abundance of false teachers and a great falling away from the faith. The world will become a very turbulent place. During that time a charismatic, smooth talking leader, filled with absolute evil, will rise.
Although both the Old and New Testaments give strong warnings, many preachers and churches do not want to talk about these. Some do not do so because of the “end times hype” or the times the church has been wrong thinking certain leaders were the Antichrist (for good reason). Other churches neglect talking about these things for fear persons will leave. As a result, many churches are further entertained and encouraged in God’s love, but not prepared for the dreadful times to come.
We do not know the day or hour Jesus will return. It might not be for another thousand years, but it might be much sooner than we think. What if His return is to be in our lifetime or our children’s? Are we ready? Are we prepared to brace against the coming storm? How can we be if pastors are not reminding congregations of the warnings and signs, let alone neglecting any equipping for such times! “We/they will be fine,” some will say. Really? Can we be so cavalier? Jesus warns that false prophets and teachers will so craftily spin their deceptive teachings and wonders that many will be lead astray (Matt. 24:24). Paul warns that people will no longer tolerate sound (true) teaching so they will seek out the false (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
So, will Jesus return soon? I do not know. The signs of the times seem to indicate that His return is drawing ever closer, regardless if it occurs in our generation or not. The pastor’s responsibility is to nourish, protect, warn, and equip the sheep. He is to give the whole counsel of God. What are neglectful pastors going to say to King Jesus when they give account to Him? “But Lord, we kept people from leaving our church. Lord, we did not want to offend anyone.” Only to hear His rebuke, “You kept them from leaving but you also kept them from hearing truth. You did not want to offend them, but it did not bother you to offend Me.”
What if the storm hits during our lifetime? Are we truly ready? What if it hits during the lives of our children or grandchildren? Will they be ready? We might not know just when the storm is going to begin, but it is coming. And the Word of God is a faithful radar giving us signs to watch for. Are we paying attention or just assuming it is not going to hit us because it has not hit for two thousand years now?