This week’s column is an open letter to the world, especially my grandchildren and all those that should live beyond my demise.
I was born again in my mid-teens. Almost immediately, I began to hear of an event called “the rapture.” I fell in love with Biblical prophecy. The first passage I memorized was John 14:1-6, where Jesus informs us He is preparing mansions for us and is coming back to take us there. Soon, I studied the rapture passages, such as 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, among others. This line of study naturally melded into the study of other prophetic passages; Matthew 24, Luke 21, Ezekiel 37-39, Psalm 83, the list goes on.
Seven months after salvation, the Lord called me to preach. The Lord provided pulpits to preach in and secular jobs to put food on the table. My first official day as a senior Pastor is also my first official day as a law enforcement officer. I have retired from the Justice Department, but, as of right now, the plan is that either the rapture or my death will end my time in the pulpit.
Speaking of the rapture, I have always prayed that I will live to see it. I love His appearing and desire to be on this earth when the trumpet blows. With all the signs, I have always thought I would live to see the event. Now in my sixties, I still hold confidence that I will live to see the rapture, but I must admit, the odds of me being one of “the dead in Christ” is growing (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
With all that said, if I should die before the rapture, here are some things for you to know.
Make sure of your salvation.
One of the reasons God wrote the Bible is so “that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Like everyone else, you are a sinner. Sin cannot be taken away without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). As the Lamb of God, Christ is the blood sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18-19). The sacrifice, thus the cleansing of our sin, is applied through faith (John 3:16-18, 36; Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 16:30-31). Our works do not save us but saving faith will bring a change in our hearts. With the Holy Spirit living within us, we have a desire in our heart to live righteously and serve God (Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24).
The America I grew up in is not the same America you live in now.
I am not speaking of technology. I am speaking of the moral code of the people. 2 Timothy 3:1-8 says, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…” The passage goes on to list many things: conditions of the heart and actions of the flesh. It does not take a theologian to read this passage and think, “This is how people are today.”
My parents’ generation is called “The greatest generation.” They survived the Great Depression and won World War Two. They could do this because their character was the exact opposite of the traits listed in the 2 Timothy passage. My generation was taught the characteristics of the greatest generation. Still, without God at the core of our hearts, as generations passed, the morals were watered down to the list in this passage. With this change in the moral code, we will lose our freedoms. John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Adams is correct, and as a nation, we are at a Constitutional crossroad – freedom vs. security.
We must remember that the United States and the rest of the world will worship the Antichrist (Revelation 13:4-8). The rise of the Antichrist cannot happen with a free and righteous America. The loss of liberty in the last bastion of freedom is occurring because the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy is on the horizon.
The Antichrist is probably alive.
Throughout Scripture, there are numerous passages giving signs that the end times are approaching. The signs are all their indicating that prophecy is knocking at the door. Also, it is evident the “falling away” is in full swing. – more and more churches reject the inerrancy of the Scripture, the deity of Christ, God’s instructions on marriage, the qualifications for the pulpit, and scores of other Biblical teachings (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 John4:1-3; Genesis 2:20-25; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 Timothy 4:1-5). If the Antichrist is alive, whether if he is my age or a teenager, your odds are good; you will see the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.
My heart goes out to you and anyone who reads this missive because I love the Lord, I love His appearing, and I believe we are at the threshold of change, change the likes the world has never seen.
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With houses of worship still under restrictions across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com