Many in the Church are certain that today we are now in the Last Days before the end and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Many signs are being fulfilled pointing to the approach of “the end.”
Matthew 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
If we indeed long for the Day of the Lord and desire to hasten it (2 Peter 3:12), the Church should prioritize the Great Commission during these Last Days. So much work remains to be done in terms of preaching the gospel to all nations—billions of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and idol-worshipers have never heard the gospel even once—yet the time remaining is so short.
As important as other matters might be, this is no longer the time to prioritize teaching believers how to maximize God’s blessings for themselves and their loved ones on earth. Sadly however, this is currently the primary focus of many churches—especially in “prosperous” America and the West where it seems “heaven on earth” is in reach. Due to the pressure of having to pay the bills and keep the church growing in size, many if not most pastors must keep the people happy and coming on Sundays with their tithes and offerings. To do that we must have programs to address every possible need and to bless every age group from cradle to grave.
Yes, God wants to bless His people even on earth. But what is the ultimate purpose of His blessings on earth? It is really for us to be restored spirit, soul, and body in order to enjoy heaven on earth, and after that graduate to heaven above when our time is up?
What is the ultimate purpose of being built up and encouraged through the operation of spiritual gifts? Is it for living happier and successful personal lives on earth?
No! We have neglected the ultimate purpose of God’s blessings—spiritual and otherwise—in our lives as His people on earth. This ultimate purpose has become little more than an afterthought—something conveniently relegated to but one Sunday each year (“Mission Sunday”) on many church calendars.
God’s people as children of Abraham are “blessed to be a blessing” to the nations through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Genesis 12:2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
Galatians 3:7 Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
The ultimate purpose of God’s blessings on His people on earth at this critical juncture in history is for them to be a blessing to all nations through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only after the Church has completed this immense task in the whole world—known as the Great Commission—will the end come.
Let us be aware of the times in which we live now. The time is short, yet much, much work is yet to be done in the vast inhospitable swathes of our planet where the gospel has never been heard. It is no longer the time for “church as usual” as we have known it for the past half century in America. The primary message of the Church to God’s people should no longer simply be “God loves you and wants to bless you.”
Rather the message should be “God loves you and has a plan for your life: you are to fulfill the Great Commission during these Last Days.”
Do we really long for His appearing?