When Christians think about the end times, it should fill them with hope. Often, though, we only talk about it as darkness and destruction. How can we discuss the last days and the return of Jesus with non-believers without it being just doom and gloom?
There’s a lot of talk lately about living in the end times. For some Christians, there’s this dark cloud over everything. They think everything is going downhill. The Lord is going to come back any minute now, so we should lock the doors and hunker down. I’ve seen this among some Christians who are concerned about things happening in society. They want to cut themselves off from the outside world. It can be really negative. It creates this negative view of outsiders and our neighbors.
That’s why I love the apostle Peter’s exhortation. He tells us how we should live as believers in light of our present situation. In reality, we’ve been in the last days since the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. We could call the days in the book of Acts the last days. In fact, Peter does that on the day of Pentecost, when he quotes Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:17–21) .
In a letter to persecuted Christians, Peter said, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength, that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 4:7–11).
He says, “The end of all things is at hand”—we’re living in the last days. Therefore, here’s what you should do:
- “be sober-minded” so that you can have that communion with God in prayer.
- love each other within the body of Christ.
- show hospitality to one another.
It’s the end times, so we should seek communion with God and open our hearts to those around us.
His advice here isn’t to flee. It’s not to run away and start a Christian commune and it’s not to stockpile ammunition. No, he says, continue to pray. Continue to be steadfast in your faith. Continue to love and show hospitality.
When we think about the end times and the judgment that’s coming, it should also give us a sense of urgency to get the gospel out. We should want others to know who Jesus is. When Peter talks about the coming of the Lord, he says that the Lord is not slow according to his promise. It’s not that God is just taking his time coming back; it’s that he’s patient towards us, “not wishing that any should perish” (2 Pet. 3:9). He wants people to repent. He wants people to find salvation in Jesus.
So, if we know that the Lord could return any time, we should long to see others come to know Christ. Instead of being anxious, afraid, and suspicious of our neighbors, we should be confident in the Lord’s grace and our deliverance when he comes.
In these last days, let’s be eager to share the love of Christ and the hope of the gospel with the people around us.
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