We know that we are living in the last days and that the Lord’s return is imminently upon us. When we look at the Scriptures, the condition of our present world and the condition of some of the believers that profess to be born-again – yet live very carnally – we know his return is looming. It is one thing for heathens to be unaware of the return of the Lord but it is a sad state of affairs when professing believers are oblivious to this fact.
The early church faced vicious persecution under Rome and the life of a believer was anything but easy. The Romans had decreed that Caesar was lord and god, requiring the subjects to acknowledge this decree in return, but the early church knew that there was only one God and one Lord—Jesus Christ. Their non-compromising belief and conscience would not allow them to call Caesar ‘lord’ so the church was looked upon as renegades. Untold numbers of believers were persecuted, tortured and put to death. It was not an easy thing to be called a Christian in the early days of Christianity.
Living uncompromisingly, under this kind of hostile and antagonistic condition, the believer’s morale would be soothed or comforted through the belief and the hope of the coming of the Lord. Thus the term Maranatha, meaning Come O Lord became a common greeting of the oppressed believers, replacing the Jewish greeting Shalom. The early believers looked for the coming of the Lord.
The New Testament – starting with the words of Jesus Himself and the apostles – is unchanging in regards to the fact that the return of Christ can occur at any moment. Here are some Scriptures on the subject matter:
The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of.
Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book… And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Revelation 22:7, 12, 20
Therefore in light of this fact how are we supposed to live effectively in the last days?
Well let us look at the words of Jude who was the half brother of our Lord Jesus Christ:
But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Jude was very specific in his instructions to us:
- Build up yourselves upon your most holy faith
- Pray in the Holy Ghost
- Keep yourselves in the love of God
- Look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life
The first question to ask ourselves is ‘Do we look for the church to go through the Great Tribulation?’ The answer is simple! While tribulation and persecution towards the church have always been prevalent throughout the ages, the church is never asked to look forward to the Great Tribulation, but is asked to look forward to Christ’s coming. The second question to ask ourselves is, ‘Are we ready for his coming?’ Jude’s instructions are pertinent to us if we are to live effectively in the last days.
Firstly, in a faithless society we need to build ourselves up on our faith. This has a twofold meaning: we must be conversant with true Christianity, and we must build our faith in not relying upon the world system but the Word system.
Secondly, we must pray in the Holy Ghost. Here is the short and blunt explanation: this means you must make it your daily habit to pray in tongues. What your denomination believes and says pales into insignificance to what the Bible says. Receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and pray mysteries daily.
Thirdly, in the last days there will be a lot of hatred and animosity because men will be lovers of themselves, mockers, scoffers and denying the infallibility of the Scriptures which give us ABSOLUTES to live by. This hatred will come from within the apostate church and the secular ungodly society but we are to live in the love of God. There will be many things within the church to take you out of the love walk, but your behavior is to be like Christ and walk in love towards the unloving.
Fourthly, keep one eye up and one down. While you are on the earth, be diligent to live a productive life but keep your eyes open for HIS coming. Don’t live as if all that matters is money and prestige but live your life well and keep your eyes upon the goal of His coming.