I was sitting down with my family at a local pizza restaurant and on the wall mounted television was a report regarding a group of people who were protesting a crime that had been committed in their town. My teenage son mumbled to himself, "C'mon people, can't we just all get along?!" I responded to him by saying, "Son, the spirit of the antichrist is loose in the world, and things will only get worse." Now most people might think that is a morbid response filled with doom and gloom, but I have raised my kids to know the difference between personal faith, kingdom hope and the end of the world. Many believers get those three perspectives confused.
In spite of the fall of the local economy or even a national recession, God can still work in your personal economy to bring provision and even blessings. This kind of personal faith is at work regardless of current news reports, the Geo-political environment or those affected by 'hard times' all around you.
In the same way, the Kingdom of God will march forward no matter what the enemy tries to do to defeat it. Christ told us, "Upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." Even though many religions around the world are growing and we face periodic corruption in the church, the Body of Christ will flourish because of our kingdom hope.
Now the end of the world is another matter. Up until the time of the end, the spirit of the antichrist is already at work in the world (as mentioned in 1 John 4:3) even before the actual person of the antichrist rises to power. So when I told my son that "things will only get worse" he understood my other teachings that we can still be blessed as a family and our church will continue to grow even though all around us we see the world progressing toward absolute selfishness as described in 2 Timothy 3...
"...There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God..."
So as we finished watching the news report I told my family, "Guys, there are groups within every culture that are angry, but it doesn't mean that the entire culture is angry. You must be careful to not allow yourself to become prejudiced toward any culture or people group based on a few angry people who might give that particular group a bad reputation." But in my heart, I knew that this anger and prejudice we see in the world will continue to grow until the end times, because God prophesied how corrupt the world will ultimately become.
As believers we are called to rise above all this and be a shining light of hope that tells the world that the Kingdom of God (the church) is still relevant, bringing good news in a dark and angry world. We are citizens of a higher kingdom, and we must resist the temptation to join the polarizing angry rhetoric that is consuming our society.
~ Pastor Robert