I am thankful that we are one day closer to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Media has utilized the date setting false prophets of our day to desensitize society to the reality of the return of Christ, but that does not negate its truth. I feel the Holy Spirit compelling me, more and more, to remind people that Christ is returning as He promised, and we are to always be ready.
So many in our day, both inside and outside the walls of the church building, base what is right from wrong on what feels right instead of on Scripture. They are not hearing much different coming from behind the pulpits, and they are not reading the Bible on their own. I often ask myself what Jesus would be preaching in our day. Would Jesus preach on love, grace, and joy, but neglect preaching against sin? Would He preach only about heaven or would He include the reality of a place of eternal torment for unrepentant sinners to reside? Many go to church and only hear about receiving God's blessings; this message mimics many of the popular books written today by popular pastors. What would Jesus preach? Beloved, His message has not changed. Yes, Jesus preached about the blessings of God, but He did not leave out the reality of hell for unrepentant sinners -- He preached about the consequences of sin.
Jesus preached, "Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear" (Matthew 13:40-43 ESV).
The glorified Christ delivered a fiery message near the conclusion of Revelation that spells out some specific sins that will send unrepentant hearts to an eternity of torment. This message is a balance of God's grace and the consequences of sin: "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:6-8 ESV).
Jesus has given us everything we need to conquer our sin problem; He has given us His life, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit. To live ready for His return, which Scripture declares is imminent, we must allow Jesus to live through us; we must know and obey Scripture; and we must rely on the strength of the Holy Spirit to overcome each temptation to sin that comes our way.
In our day, may we echo the message Jesus preached from village to village -- "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15 ESV). I pray, "Father, lift up those in our day who will preach and live this timeless message. Amen."
Know that you are loved,
Gregory A. Johnson