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From the Pulpit: The Church of the last days

April 15, 2012
By THE REV. GARY LILLY - Restoration Church , Weirton Daily Times

Most believers today would humbly acknowledge that we are truly living in the last days. Even the sinner farthest from God senses that something just isn't right and the world is in serious trouble. Things seem out of control on so many levels.

Tribal hatred and warfare, political upheaval and corruption, economic instability and uncertainty are all reaching a danger zone never before known to man. Even this old earth is groaning under the weight of the curse of sin with weather right out of a horror movie tornadoes leveling entire cities, hurricanes and tsunamis taking thousands of lives while flooding in one part of the earth and drought in another is depleting food supplies and sending sick and dying refugees by the millions in a desperate search for a simple drink of water or a small morsel of food.

We see bloated, malnourished babies and children with flies swarming over their bleached and sunken faces while only a few miles away demonic tyrants steal the food, drink the water and run murderously through villages shooting the innocent and leaving their bodies to rot and decay along the roads and in the killing fields of third-world countries.

We live under the ever-present and ominous shadow of the possibility of nuclear annihilation. Fanatical leaders with no regard for God or His creation, posture themselves as would-be kings who would rule by threat, extortion, and corruption. The words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy written nearly 2,000 years ago might just as easily appear as headlines in our daily newspapers. 2TI 3:1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.

2TI 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,

2TI 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,

2TI 3:4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;

We seem to have some how lost our way. The scourge of humanity's sin and depravity has nearly run its course. There is no obvious moral compass in the world. Nearly every man arrogantly does what is right in his own eyes regardless of the consequences. There is little, if any restraint. Nations are morally and spiritually bankrupt. Great institutions of civility and stability have been shaken to the core and the very foundations upon which societies have been built are being threatened daily and appear to be in serious jeopardy.

In this intense apocalyptic atmosphere it is easy to lose heart. Fear is palpable, hope is fading and the silver-lining is difficult to find. The whole earth seems to be reeling from soul-sickness. It is as if we were stumbling toward eternity with a death-rattle in our collective throat and nothing to look forward to but hell and damnation.

But such is not the case in the house of the Lord! The redeemed live in the blessed hope, while forever proclaiming the power and beauty of the gospel message. The truth of the gospel is not that there will not be difficult and trying times but that they are actually the labor pains of the love of God letting us know that our redemption is drawing near and our Savor is coming again! The church of the last days is the ultimate and final Noah's Ark that will sail us safely into eternity and into the arms of our Conquering King! All we have to do is stay in faith, stay on board and praise Him all the way home!

Though we certainly care for a hurting and dying world and even though we too go through tribulations we do it all with heads lifted up singing the thrilling songs of hope and victory. The purpose of this message is not about examining the signs of the times, predicting the time of His return, or preparing for any devastation that may occur. This message is to remind us to rebuke the fear, embrace the faith, straighten up, count it all joy, obey the Lord, love one another and comfort one another with these words: JESUS IS COMING! JESUS IS COMING! JESUS IS COMING! JESUS IS COMING! - AND He is coming not as a babe in a manager but as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, on a white horse, to execute the wrath of God, establish an eternal kingdom and to take each of us that where He is we may be also!!!!

The only fear the church has is the fear of the Lord. Our only spirit is the Holy Spirit. Our only banner is the one stained with the blood drawn from Emanuel's veins the Lamb of God. Our only counsel is the Word of God. And our future is bright and glorious because the Risen Savior is about to return with power to reign forever.

We are the church of the last days. Let us straighten up, lift up our heads, humble our hearts; and bow our knees in true repentance and worship as we cry out: "Even so Lord Jesus come quickly!"

("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)

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