Many Christians, including myself, believe we are near the end times and the return of Jesus Christ. Christians may hold differences of opinions on the sequence of events of the end times, but nearly all believe we are rapidly approaching the day of Christ’s return.
Christians will often point at earthquakes, wars, pestilence and the like, yelling and screaming, “See! See! It’s happening just like He said it would.” However, when it comes to the signs that deal with the heart of man, and in particular, the heart of the church, we tend to ignore or dismiss them.
The Apostles asked Christ in Matthew 24:3, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Jesus goes on for the rest of chapter twenty-four and all of twenty-five with His answer. He starts by giving the signs we are all familiar with – war, earthquake, famine and so on. He ends the list with something remarkable, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12). We can gather two signs of His coming from this statement, one, sin will increase, and two, love will decrease.
In living a successful Christian life, love is to be the driving force of all our choices and actions (Matthew 22:34-40). Putting these passages (Matthew 24:3-12 and Matthew 22:34-40) together we can conclude, as a sign of Christ’s return, we will see an increase in iniquity and a decrease of people living the Christian life.
There is more. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 speaks of a “falling away” that will come before Christ returns. Specifically, it is a falling away from the truth. The Bible emphasizes the Word of God as being truth (1 Kings 17:24; John 1:14; 17:17, 2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18, just to mention a few). Before Christ’s return, people
will turn away from the Bible and the truth it contains.
The truths of the Bible that are ignored or not believed anymore are numerous, but for this I will give one example.
Life begins in the womb. Jeremiah 1:5 informs us God has a plan for us and knows us while we are in our mother’s womb. However, society has fallen away from this truth, and millions of innocents have been killed before their birth day. Often the decision to abort is made because of finances (can’t afford a baby), life circumstances (“’my life will be ruined if I have an unplanned child”) and even fear (“my boyfriend (or dad) will kill me if he finds out I’m pregnant). None of these reasons are based on our love of God, or our neighbor. Remember Matthew 22:34-40?
Follow the pattern – A departure from the truth – an increase of sin – love waxing cold.
Abortion is only an example. This pattern has flowed through many areas of life.
There is a simple test Jesus gave us to measure our love for Him. John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” You may preach from the pulpit, sing in the praise and worship team or whatever, but the more you don’t do what He says, the less love you have for God.
All the passages so far can deal with the condition of the world in general. Some of these conditions can and have spilled over into the church.
However, there is one more passage, also a prophetic passage, that is written to and about the church specifically.
Revelation 3:14-22 speaks of the church in the last days as being “lukewarm.” Filled with apathy, selfishness and absent of faith. Many Christians will dismiss this; claiming it is not the general condition of the church when Christ returns. It is interesting to note that Christ Himself asked, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
We see the wars, earthquakes, famines, changes in the weather – all things Christ said would happen, and we shout it from the mountaintops. However, we see a falling away from the truth, iniquity increasing and love waxing cold and we are silent. These things are signs of His return just as much as the others.
Christ tells the church in Revelation the solution to the problems in the church, and they are just the opposite of problems. Returning to the Word of God, then loving God enough to obey it.