CHRISTIANS LIVING IN THE “LAST DAYS”

Christians in the “last days” will operate as Paul did, as described in the Book of Acts, with Holy Spirit-inspired perception and insight. Moreover, the church will also be like the church as described in the Book of Acts and in countries facing persecution now.

Perception and insight

Take the example of Paul’s actions during a physical storm. Paul was just one of the many prisoners on a prison ship headed for Rome. Before setting sail, Paul told the crew, “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also” (Acts 27:10). He spoke with clear foresight. Leaders that are sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading will learn how to face tough realities head-on without fear.

Courage and confidence

Paul addressed the terrified passengers. “I urge you to keep up your courage because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul… God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” (Acts 27:22–24).

Paul’s confidence in the chaos came because a word from God infused him with courage and confidence. Chaos can rob us of confidence. Yet, when the wind threatens, we can receive a word from God and lead through the storm.

Clarity and decisiveness

After being blown completely off course, the crew of the prison ship finally neared land. Some planned to save their own lives and leave the prisoners to die. But Paul discerned this and said, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved” (Acts 27:31).

Paul acted with Spirit-inspired clarity and decisiveness. As he stepped forward with a voice demanding respect, even the captain and jailers who were supposed to be his authority listened to and obeyed his authority.

Future chaos will demand that “last days” Christians learn to speak with clarity and decisiveness as they are led by the Holy Spirit.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.Romans 8:14

Adapted from Generation Z: Born for the Storm by Dr. Billy Wilson.

CHURCH AS GOD INTENDED

As narrated in the Book of Acts, the New Testament Church is both a prescriptive and descriptive account that illustrates a pattern for contemporary congregations.

The following are 7 essentials the contemporary church must embrace for missional movement.

Acts 1 shows how 120 disciples of Jesus spent 10 days together in prayer, comparing Scripture and making leadership decisions. This ensured that the foundation of the burgeoning movement would be secure. Their goal was to work towards oneness as it related to the understanding and preaching of the Good News of the Messiah.

Without this period of waiting upon God and reflection, the massive spontaneous addition of 3,000 people after Peter’s first sermon could have resulted in chaos and destroyed the movement. The contemporary Church must take adequate time every season to wait upon God in prayer and biblical reflection in order to be ready for the Gospel’s movement.

Acts 2:42 says that immediately after the Day of Pentecost, the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ doctrine, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Visitors to Jerusalem that converted, abandoned plans to go back to their homeland so they could sit under the apostles’ teaching.

This apostolic doctrine shaped their social gatherings, common meals, and corporate prayer. Without this, the activities of the Church would have been based upon subjective experiences and opinions of gatherers. The contemporary Church must also establish believers in the first principles of the faith if they are going to experience a prolific Gospel movement.

Acts 5:1-12 relay the narrative of the judgment upon Ananias and Saphira.

This illustrates how the standard of holiness and the fear of the Lord must be maintained to ensure the health of the Church. If God allowed them to continue lying, manipulating, and receiving honor deceptively through giving gifts (which amounts to dirty politics), it would have spread like yeast and eventually would have corrupted the Church.

It is not an accident that God began to do extraordinary miracles as soon as this couple was removed from the Church (Acts 5:12-14). The contemporary Church must understand that we limit the capacity for God to move through us whenever we allow unbiblical standards to permeate our Church.

Acts 6:1-7 Almost immediately after the birth of the Jesus movement, ethnic sectarianism and bias reared their ugly head. This took place when the Greek-speaking widows were being overlooked when food was being distributed. Peter had enough wisdom to appoint 7 men of integrity and wisdom who would oversee this ministry, resulting in every widow’s needs being met, the Word of God spreading, and the number of disciples multiplying.

Acts 7:54-60 The martyrdom of Stephen, demonstrates an amazing pattern for us to follow in the contemporary church. God cannot bless a Gospel movement if the saints are unwilling to give their lives to advance His kingdom. Even Paul said that he was always given over to death so that the life of Christ might manifest through him (2 Corinthians 4:11). A contemporary church filled with people who only gather to have their felt needs met will never advance the Gospel. Jesus said we would have power after the Spirit comes upon us to be His witnesses. The word witness comes from the word martyr. Hence, a faithful witness overcomes the enemy when he is not willing to shrink from death (Revelations 12:11).

Acts 7:58, 8:8 The early Church did not skip a beat but continued to thrive after mass persecution broke out against them. Even though they were forced out of their homes and lost everything, their mind was on spreading the Gospel! Wherever they were scattered, they preached the Word. This resulted in major churches being planted in the cities of Samaria and Antioch and resulted in their chief antagonist, Saul, being converted and becoming the greatest of the apostles. The contemporary Church must persevere amid persecution (similar to the powerful Gospel movement we see today through the persecuted churches in Iran, China, and India).

Acts 13:1-2 Instead of being bogged down with endless church committees and deliberations, the Antioch church elders spent adequate time ministering to the Lord and fasting. Giving God space to move upon them, released a divine strategy that changed the entire world. The contemporary Church must also prioritize seeking the Lord and waiting for the strategic Spirit to illuminate our hearts so we can labor for the things God ordains instead of asking God to bless our agendas.

Adapted from article ”8 lessons churches can learn from the book of Acts” by Joseph Mattera, Christian Post Feb. 20

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR WHAT IS ABOUT TO UNFOLD?

Satan has successfully deceived the world into believing that God did not judge the world with a worldwide flood just 4000 years ago now. He certainly does not want people to know that God will pour out His wrath again on a lawless unrepentant world in the not too distant future and yet that is exactly what God reveals will happen in His Word, the Bible.

The Judeo-Christian ethos, based on God’s absolutes which formed the basis of most Western nations, is fast being supplanted by a secularistic, humanistic, arrogantly arbitrary philosophy. This worldview is spreading rapidly. The legal system is a prominent perpetrator of it. The courts are dangerous because they pontificate arbitrarily on what they personally consider to be “good” for society, yet they demand – and aggressively enforce – absolute allegiance to their arbitrary decrees. But what did we expect? The humanistic, secularistic thinkers have merely carried their philosophy to its logical end. They have remained true to their worldview in both words and actions while, unfortunately, Christians have equivocated. They simply have not taken the Lordship of Christ seriously. Instead, Christians have largely shut up their spirituality into a small corner of life, Sunday church, or their Bible studies instead of realising that the Lordship of Christ is to permeate the whole spectrum of life. They have coasted along complacently, often serving up such dogmas as “you can’t mix religion and politics,” or “you can’t legislate morality,” or “we just need to pray and witness to people” – when what they really meant was we just don’t want to be disturbed.” They are content in their “comfort zone.”

Christians are now paying for their negligence. We have permitted the dominance of a philosophy that sanctions the killing of an unborn child for the mother’s convenience. A philosophy that can talk of euthanasia of the aged and a general devaluation of all human life. A philosophy that has euphemised wrong and self-destructive sexuality into “alternative lifestyles.” A philosophy that drives its proponents to unashamedly seek the banishment of all religious influence from the stream of public life, leaving a totally relativistic value system and law. This secularistic worldview has engulfed every area of society that Christians have chosen to ignore – the government, the courts, education, the media. And it is now threatening the areas that Christians naively took for granted as being beyond its reach: the family, the Christian school, and the church. More and more the state is opening the door to restrict the free exercise of our faith through increased regulation. Christians largely sleep on, as it unfolds.

Jesus told us that what we see unfolding in our day is exactly what it will be like before He returns. It will be like it was during the days of Noah, lawlessness will abound. Moreover, He warns us that intense tribulation is coming.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:9-14

You should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 2 Peter 3:2-6

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26-27

And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 17:8-9

CHURCH IN THE LAST DAYS

The end-times church is prophesied to be like the original church in the Book of Acts, with no institutions, no expensive buildings, no paid pastors. The church will meet in homes and will be centered on making disciples that make more disciples.

Lecrae

I have posted many stories on pastors such as Francis Chan that have walked away from large institutional churches, in Chan’s case a church of 5,000 to set up home churches with no paid pastors or buildings. I personally support the Kenya Home Church Movement and am delighted to post stories here on its growth.

The following story about rap artist Lecrae reveals further what God is doing with His church in these prophesied “last days”.

Lecrae loses tour date after tweeting that he’s done with ‘institutional, corporatized’ Christianity.

Reach Records founder Lecrae revealed that he and his team lost one of their tour dates this spring after sharing an honest tweet about deconstructing from “politicized” and “corporatized” modern church culture.

“Once upon a time I thought I was done with Christianity. But the reality was I was just done with the institutional, corporatized, gentrified, politicized, culturally exclusive version of it,” the popular emcee tweeted on Tuesday.

The following day, Lecrae re-shared his tweet and wrote: “Just lost a show because of this tweet. Point proven.” The Grammy award-winning artist added: “Vulnerability gets people kicked out of exclusive tribes. Jesus welcomes the outcast and seeks to bring healing.”

Lecrae does not get all things right like all of us but he is right on point with this move.

THE CHURCHES AT THE END OF THE AGE

Are the 7 Letters to the churches of Revelation simply instructions on Christian living or are they a prophecy of churches at the end of the age – a prophecy to the Church of Jesus Christ as it endures and overcomes the 70th Week of Daniel?

The prophecy of 70 Weeks (Shabuim) is the central Biblical proof text to show that a Hebrew man named Yeshua (Jesus) was the expected Messiah who confirmed, fulfilled the O.T. promises of a coming Redeemer. 

The 70th week is the final week of the 70 Weeks prophecy. God gives us a lot of information on this final week. He reveals that it is a time of great tribulation for Christians. God refines His church during this time and we are coming to realise now that as many as 50% of so-called Christians are in fact not born again and will fall away during this time of persecution.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:9-14

Back to the seven churches: if it is a prophecy, what do each of the letters to the churches mean? Are these instructions on how to overcome the end times? Watch a complete in-depth analysis of what each letter means.

This study finds the correlation between the 7 Letters to the churches of Revelation and the 7 Seals of Revelation.

When you read the message to the Church of Philadelphia it is obvious that it is the church that is raptured as it is “kept from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name… Because you have kept my word about patient endurance,
I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.Revelation 3:10-11

Whereas the next church, the church of Laodicea is the church that is left behind and why.

And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.Revelation 3:15-17

MAKING DISCIPLES IS THE MANDATE – CHURCH PLANTING IS THE OUTCOME

Where in the Bible are we commanded to plant churches? The simple and obvious response is, “it is not commanded.” Planting churches flows naturally out of making disciples. The heart of the church’s mission is to make disciples who make disciples.

In the New Testament, a disciple is more than someone who grows in their theological knowledge of God. A disciple fellowships with other believers, worships in a community, and prays like those assembled in a house in Acts 4.

And now, Lord, look upon their (the Worlds) threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.Acts 4:29-31

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, a disciple then boldly declares the word of God such that more and more people become followers of Jesus.

Missionaries have historically been the most vital source of a nation’s social development. These findings yield two important conclusions about the work of Protestant missionaries. Their message was good for the world and their focus was making disciples.

This understanding of a disciple is highlighted throughout the New Testament. Through a study of the early movement in Ephesus, we see at least thirteen characteristics common to them all.

  • Disciples are respectful of people and culture when they engage in God’s mission (Acts 19:7, 37).
  • Disciples surrender to God’s will and maintain the work of their first love in a theocentrically focused missiological theology (Eph 1; Eph 5:18-19; Rev 2:4).
  • Disciples declare the mystery of Christ to the nations (Eph 3:4-10, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples are equipped by movement leaders for ministry (Eph 4:12; 1 Timothy).
  • Disciples exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Eph 4-5).
  • Disciples are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses (Eph 5:18-19, 2 Tim 1:7).
  • Disciples are godly fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, employees and employers (Eph 5:22-6:9).
  • Disciples pray for opportunities to share the gospel because they know God is most glorified when more people are worshipping him (Eph 6:18-20, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples stand up for the marginalized (1 Tim 2:8-15, 5:3-16; Rev 2:6).
  • Disciples learn sound doctrine from movement leaders who can teach (1 Tim 4:7).
  • Disciples are willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel (2 Tim 1:8).
  • Disciples are committed to multiplying more disciples (2 Tim 2:2).
  • Disciples defend the faith against false teaching (Rev 2:2).

Extracts from an article “Is Church Planting a Biblical Mandate?” October 28, 2020, by Jackson Wu

TIME TO TRUST GOD WITH YOUR LIFE

This is an important message from Torben Sondergaard (thelastreformation.com) and it will challenge many Christians as to what it means to be obedient to God’s call on our lives. He exposes the truth about much of the church in America. There is so much lukewarmness in the church – it is the church of Laodicea,

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.Revelation 3:15-22

Torben is right, he says it is time to be serious with God, time is short, so it ultimately comes down to, do we trust God for the next step. If you do, life will be exciting beyond belief but make no mistake it will also be challenging. Thank goodness we have people like Torben who are leading the way and giving us an example to follow.

FALSE PROPHETS IN THE LAST DAYS

Jesus’ call is radical: cross-bearing, self-denying, love of others. Sadly, I do not see too many Christians, certainly in the public sphere, carrying out this cross bearing, self denying, love of others. Moreover, God’s Word tells us that in the last days before His return that those that do love Jesus and are obedient to His call invariably suffer for it. Paul, his disciples and the early church invariably did. Often their suffering was perpetrated by the religious people of the day.

Biblical prophecy reveals that in the last seven years (Daniel’s 70th week) before the Rapture of the Saints and the wrath of God is poured out on an unrepentant world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements, there will be tribulation even great tribulation ahead for Jesus followers, and much of that will come from the False Prophet and his church, the religious people of the day. Knowing, believing, and acting upon the following Scriptures empowered by the Holy Spirit is essential to be overcomers.

If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others. Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead, He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death — even to death on a cross.Philippians 2:3-8

And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love is perfected with us so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, for we are as He is in this world. There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.1 John 4:16-19

Biblical prophecy reveals that there will be many false prophets in the “last days”

Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” Matthew 24:9-11

Prophets exhort Jesus followers to be faithful, to be obedient to His call on their lives. We hear many who consider themselves to be prophets declaring to the world it must uphold laws and commandments that have been compromised by the world. They say we are loving and inclusive, gay marriage, homosexual and transgender pastors are embraced. These are false prophets, true prophets speak Biblical truth to God’s people. Jesus tells us that when these things take place we are in the last days and His return is not too far off.

Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28

And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21:27

PROPHESIED “END TIMES” FALLING AWAY

George Barna, the lead researcher at the Cultural Research Center, explained in a statement. “’Christian’ has become somewhat of a generic term rather than a name that reflects a deep commitment to passionately pursuing and being like Jesus Christ.”

Of an estimated 176 million American adults who identify as Christian, just 6% or 15 million of them actually hold a biblical worldview, a new study from Arizona Christian University shows.

The study shows, in general, that while a majority of America’s self-identified Christians, including many who identify as evangelical, believe that God is all-powerful, all-knowing and is the Creator of the universe, more than half reject a number of biblical teachings and principles, including the existence of the Holy Spirit.

Strong majorities also errantly believe that all religious faiths are of equal value, people are basically good and that people can use acts of goodness to earn their way into Heaven. The study further showed that majorities don’t believe in moral absolutes; consider feelings, experience, or the input of friends and family as their most trusted sources of moral guidance; and say that having faith matters more than which faith you pursue.

Worship
Parishioners of Lakewood Church led by Pastor Joel Osteen pray together during a service at the church in Houston, Texas, on September 3, 2017

One of the most disturbing results was that most adult US Christians don’t believe Holy Spirit is real. Some 62% of self-identified born-again Christians contend that the Holy Spirit is not a real, living being but is merely a symbol of God’s power, presence or purity. These people obviously do not believe the Bible is God’s Word because it reveals that unless a person is born again with the Holy Spirit, Jesus will say to them on judgement day “depart from me I do not know you”. Jesus told the disciples the Parable of the Ten Virgins to show us what the church will be like in the last days before His return. All were asleep when He came and half were not born again.

Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise... the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.Matthew 25:1-12

With most of the denominational churches in the USA accepting gay marriage and transgender priests it is obvious that these Cultural Research Center figures are an accurate depiction of the church and fits with the Bible’s prophesied apostasy in the last days.

LIFE IN CHRIST FOR YOUR FAMILY

Seven years ago Robert and his wife Evelyn decided to take a leap of faith to leave their jobs and careers behind, trusting God to provide for them and lead them further. In this video Robert shares what happened since then and the things they learned. Living eternal now being directed by the Holy Spirit believing God’s Word.

“Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:28-30

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34

MORE FROM THE LAST REFORMATION MOVEMENT:

I want to say that this is not only a life Robert and his family are called to live. I believe this is a life many more people are called to live! Not that everyone should do exactly as they did, but everyone CAN do so much more than we are often doing! Start where you are! Use the free resources we have – The Kickstart Package, the online Pioneer School, etc… all the resources which are available for you to use to bear fruit!

But I also want to challenge many of you out there – I think many more people ARE called to do like Robbert and his family! We have just done a new page on TheLastReformation.com called FAMILY ON A MISSION. You can see the link here: youtu.be/lXvMqdLzGyo

On this page, you will find other stories of other people who started to see amazing fruit! What you can see is that every story is different, but every person is the same in the sense that the Holy Spirit is leading, God is providing, and there is amazing fruit!

So I want to challenge you even more, especially in the times we are living in now – don’t get old and look back at your life regretting that you did not take some big steps for Jesus! Don’t stand in front of Jesus one day when He comes back very soon, not having anything to show! Do what He has called you to do! And let us know how we can help you!