Summary: Sermon number 16 in our series on the Baptist Faith and Message
Here at the End of All Things (BFM #16)
Text: 1st Peter 4:7
By: Ken McKinley
We have reached article 10 of our study of the BFM, and it is one of those articles in our confessional statement that a lot of people are interested in. Now I confess that I myself did not study much eschatology until a few years ago, when I was writing my book, and since then I dove back into studying eschatology (ie. end times) since we’ve began our study of the Book of Revelation in discipleship class. Now article 10 of the BFM says this, “God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.”
Now Christians in general are pretty interested in this stuff, the end times, the last days, the Book of Revelation. It’s obvious that we are interested in it because if you look at the top selling religious books, those on eschatology are always right near the top of the list. But the problem I see is that Christians are more concerned with the “when” of the end, rather than simply having the assurance of Christ’s promises at the end. In-other-words, we want to look for the signs so that we will know when we need to start living right. We are watching for and waiting for the signs so that we will know when we need to get serious about our faith. The problem with this kind of mind set is that Jesus told us in Matthew 24:36 that no one knows when the 2nd Coming will be… no one other than God Himself. So as Christians, instead of looking at the “when” of the end, we should instead be focusing on the fact that Jesus IS coming again, and that we should be living daily as if today were the day. In 1st Peter 4:7 Peter wrote, “The end of all things is at hand, therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.”
Now the BFM is vague in dealing with things like millennial views, the time of the rapture in relation to the tribulation, and I think that’s unfortunate. I don’t think that the authors of the BFM were trying to intentionally cop out of these important issues, I think they were trying to be tolerant of the different views of those held within our denomination, but in their efforts to be tolerant, I think they copped out. And that happens any time we withhold the teachings of the Word of God in order to be more tolerant and more acceptable. Tolerance is a good thing, but not at the cost of other good things, like the truth.
And so, article 10 begins by saying, “God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end.” – God in His own time and own way… so what is God’s time and God’s way? Well we already saw in Matthew 24:36 that no one knows the day or the hour except for the Father Himself, but what about God’s way? Well, I think unintentionally the BFM tells us the way, “Jesus returns personally and visibly in glory – to the earth!” And the return of the Lord is a certainty, because it is in God’s time, in God’s way, and it’s according to His promise. So; when the end of all things does come, it will be God who makes it happen. Now what this knowledge does is either make you feel really, really comfortable, or really, really uncomfortable. Depending on how you view the sovereignty of God, and how you view God Himself. Do you trust Him completely? Do you believe that He always has your best interest at heart?
A good indication of how much you trust the Lord is how much you fret about the 2nd Coming of Christ.
God is sovereign, and God brings about the end of all things, so the last day, the end, will only come when, and how He chooses to make it happen. 1st John 2:17 tells us that the world and its desires are passing away. In-other-words, every new day is one day closer to the Lords return. That’s not rocket science, it’s just common sense. But it doesn’t mean that we can live however we like, and act like that day isn’t coming. Jesus taught that we should not lay up for ourselves treasures here on earth, that can be corrupted by age and time, and that can be stolen by thieves, but rather, we should be laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven.