The End is Near...or Is It? =========================== What's Your Worldview --------------------- When it comes to the future, there are three basic worldviews. 1. Everything will stay the same--This view claims that the universe never had a beginning and has always existed in a steady state. 2. Everything will get better--This view holds that our world and the people in it are progressing to a better place. It is also the worldview that leaves God out of the picture completely. Here's how it works. The material or natural world is all there is. The universe had a beginning, but it was an impersonal beginning. From that impersonal beginning, life has evolved from simple single-cell beings into complex beings. God is nowhere to be found in this worldview. Man is the measure of all things. As people improve, the world will get better. 3. Everything will get worse--This view of the future hold that life as we know it is in a constant state of degradation. Everything that lives slowly dies. The world is not getting better. It's getting worse, and it will continue to get worse. Here is how it works with a more personal application: A personal, eternal, self-existent God brought all things into existence. God created the heavens and the earth and human beings in a perfect state. God's human creatures rebelled against Him, bringing sin and death to humankind and the world. Even though the world and its inhabitants are in a sinful state, God is still in control. Under God's control, the universe is orderly and operates according to physical laws. Under God's control, the universe is an open system. God can intervene and man can interrupt. Man can pollute his environment and affect his future. God intervened in human history when He sent Jesus Christ, who brought hope to a fallen humanity. God is in the process of bringing history to a fitting conclusion, which will happen when Jesus returns to earth a second time. Near future (Matthew 6:31-33) ----------------------------- Jesus was very clear about the near future when He said: "So don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things?" (Matthew 6:31,32). Worrying about how you are going to live tomorrow can drain your energy and minimize your effectiveness today. Jesus was very clear that we are to seek the things of God first. "Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern." (Matthew 6:32,33). What about the distant future? How concerned are we to be about things to come, especially things occurring at the end of the world? The followers of Jesus asked Him that very question approximately 2000 years ago. "When will all this take place? And will there be any sign ahead of time to signal your return and the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3). Jesus was very specific in His answer. He gave all kinds of clues about how the world would end, and He said something very interesting about when the end would come: "No one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows" (Matthews 24:36). So what are we to do? How are we to live in light of this uncertainty? Again, Jesus gives us an answer: "You must be ready all the time.For the Son of Man will come when least expected" (Matthew 24:44). Be Ready, Wise, and Watchful ---------------------------- A healthy view of the future means that we are to be ready, wise, and watchful. Be ready--You never know what's going to happen to the world. "How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone" (James 4:14). Be wise-- Don't fear tomorrow, but be very clear about what God has planned for the future. There are many mysteries about the future, and the more you know about which way this world is going tomorrow, the better you can live your life today: "So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do" (Ephesians 5:15-17). Be watchful--Keeping watch over something means guarding it against intruders. This applies to your house and your heart. Just as you wouldn't want a thief to sneak into your house when you're physically asleep, you don't want the world to end when you're spiritually asleep. Jesus was very specific on this subject: "Watch out! Don't let me find you living in careless ease and drunkenness, and filled with worries of this life. Don't let that day catch you unaware, as in a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep a constant watch. And pray that, if possible, you may escape these horrors and stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:34-36). Are We Really in the End Times? ------------------------------- The end of the world will happen only when Jesus returns to earth. The Bible says that the world is going to end, but that no one knows "the day or the hour." Many people believe that even after you die, you still have the chance to get things right with God. However, the Bible is very clear about the next step after death: "It is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). You will be immediately ushered into eternity to await judgment. It will be too late to change your mind. Only one thing will count: your relationship with God. Promise ------- Buried deep within the Bible in a book written by King Solomon, considered to be the wisest man who ever lived, are these immortal words: "God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). When you invite the eternal God into you life by accepting Jesus Christ, the Captain of your salvation (Hebrews 2:10), you literally bring eternity into your heart. You have the distinct advantage of being able to see things from eternity's perspective. What's That Again? ------------------ 1. Your own views about the end of the world are based upon your worldview, your personal belief system. 2. Having a healthy view of the future means that you don't worry about it, but you are prepared for it. In other words, ready, wise, and watchful.