Summary: The end times spoken of by our Lord Jesus and the apostles in Scripture has come upon us at a rate faster than most of us comprehended. We are to warn everybody that this world is headed for destruction, and He is on His way.
The great preacher and pastor of 19th century England, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892), stated that aside from the Scriptures, his other favorite book, which he had read over a hundred times, told the story of a follower of Jesus Christ who was headed to the "Celestial City". The main character, aptly named "Christian", carrying a heavy bag representing the burdens of his sins and concerns, leaves his home that is destined for judgment and sure destruction. While on his hazardous journey, he encounters places and names that are allegories for the difficulties faced by every true follower of Jesus Christ, such as the Slough of Despond, the emptiness of Vanity Fair, and the deceptive words of Mr. Pliable, Mr. Worldly Wiseman, and Giant Despair. Having overcome the difficulties posed by these foes and distractions, he places his burdens before Christ and enters heaven to dwell there forever. The book is "Pilgrim's Progress", written by the English Baptist preacher John Bunyan during a time on his own spiritual journey and troubles. He was serving a twelve year sentence in Bedford Jail for the crime of preaching the Gospel without the consent or training of the state church. He was given several opportunities to be released on the condition that he cease from preaching. Bunyan refused (Acts 4: 18-20), even though it cost his family of not just his presence as husband and father, but also deprived him of the income he provided as a craftsman. Bunyan's wife and children, who supported his decision to stay in jail, worked in various trades and places just to survive. After Bunyan was eventually freed, his work "Pilgrim's Progress" was published, providing material and spiritual aid not just to him and his family, but to this day enriched the lives of all Christians who have read and been inspired and encouraged by it. Like Bunyan and all true believers, we are not of this world but are strangers and pilgrimswho are determined to follow our LORD. We are to be free from the fantasies of this age. Our hearts, minds, and spirits instead are to focus on the journey to enter what I refer to as Reality City, or that wondrous place that the Bible calls the New Jerusalem, the promised glorious, eternal kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 11:13, 13:14; 1 Peter 1:17, 2:11; 1 John 2:15-17).
Bunyan and the countless genuine disciples of Jesus Christ past and present, have experienced times of persecution, threats, exile, cursing, imprisonment, and martyrdom in a world where no one seems to care or call for advocacy on our behalf (2 Timothy 3:12). In these last days, we suffer with increasing ridicule, threats, unemployment, vicious slander, and endless waves of anger, rage, and hatred from the mouths and minds of reprobate individuals and systems, urged on by the forces of hell itself as a last desperate attempt to hinder and stop the message of salvation that comes only through the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:9-11). What has come to this nation and world should knock sense into any confessing Christian who is compliant and comfortable in this world and to permanently shatter any belief of immunity from the present troubles. Brethren, it is time to quit feasting on the spiritual "junk food" that inflates our egos that place us in the position of the fool from the poem "Invictus" who arrogantly declared that "he is the master of his fate and the captain of his soul". Too many of us live in agreement with that warped egotistical philosophy while outwardly giving God a polite "nod" on varied Sundays in order to make ourselves feel better. Any man called by God in this crucial age who has been entrusted by Him to care for His flock and stands behind the sacred desk of a church every LORD'S Day needs to enter his study and throw any collection he may have of "self-help" books in the trash along with any materials which deals with the improvement of our lives apart from the need to submit all that we have, including ourselves, to the Lordship of Christ. Now is the time, pastor and elders, to humbly repent before the throne of the LORD God in sorrow and heartbreak for allowing ourselves to be swayed by authors and personalities who have become ear ticklers. Open the Holy Bible, go before your people, and fearlessly preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Warn everyone from this point on about the wrath that is to come upon this world and the wicked. Warn everyone who has ears to hear that there is little time left to decide whether or not to embrace the gift of mercy, grace, and salvation from sin and hell that is freely given by the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 6:2), or to reject Him and allow their depraved minds to harden their hearts, becoming the wretched and damned souls heading to the real eternal hell written of in the Scriptures (Romans 1:18-32, 3:10-18, 23, 6:23; Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-31; Revelation 20:11-15).