Summary: Recently I went to see the movie Darkest Hour with my dad at the theatre, a stunning film revolving around the decisions and speeches of the great leader Winston Churchill during the dark days of World War II. The whole world was at the brink of collapse.
Recently I went to see the movie Darkest Hour with my dad at the theatre, a stunning film revolving around the decisions and speeches of the great leader Winston Churchill during the dark days of World War II. The whole world was at the brink of collapse.
Let’s go back in time: It’s 1939 and darkness is spreading through Europe. The Nazi military seems unstoppable. There is a genocidal regime so terrible that it’s exterminating millions of Jews and Christians. Think about how it must’ve felt for the people of Great Britain. They saw Austria fall, then they saw Poland fall. Then even the mighty French army is crushed and the Nazi flag flies over Paris. You send your troops to help the French, but in just a few weeks, they are forced to flee in retreat. Europe, conquered by the Nazis. And it seemed there was no hope for civilization left. Imagine that situation, and your Winston Churchill, prime minister, shivering at the thought of the fall of not only Great Britain, but of all free people on Earth.
This reminds me of the situation we are in as the church today. Our forces are crumbling. Corps are seeing decreased attendance, and are in danger of shutting down. And we’re afraid to face that reality. We’re losing. And we seem to be losing ground each day.
Thankfully Jesus lives, and we are his people. We are the soldiers of the Salvation Army, and as such we have a great calling ahead of us.
I imagine Winston Churchill felt the same way when he looked across the channel toward occupied France. Or when he felt the concussive force of bombs dropping over London. Is this the end? He must’ve wondered. But sometimes it takes just one man, one woman, willing to believe in the impossible, who can change everything.
Winston Churchill was courageous. He said “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” Great Britain fought on. And eventually the war was won.
Similarly, we are soldiers in a grand campaign. And as soldiers our job is to obey the orders of our commanding officer, the Lord Jesus. And he has commanded us in the great commission: To make disciples of all nations.
There is so much corruption, poverty, immorality, and brokenness in this world. But at times like these, when everything seems to be crumbling, God loves to work mightily. It's at times like these that we'll know through and through, that it was only by God's power that we could overcome such darkness.
So as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, as warriors, we must stand the test. We must fight the good fight. We must do what the master has taught us. Jesus gives us instructions in Matthew chapter 25, regarding what he expect of his disciples in these fallen times.
1.The Ten Virgins - First of all we see that Christ calls us to be on our guard, alert, and ready for His return by storing up zeal and practicing spiritual disciplines to remain strong in the faith. It says in our first parable from Matthew 25: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5 Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.” –Matthew 25:1-10
There is always the danger in life to forget who we are, and drift away from our daily Christian practices. Our God knows that, and He reminds us clearly and warns us that we must continue steadfastly in the faith.
How can we do this? We can read our Bibles each day, and pray daily. This isn’t a sprint competition; this is a long distance run. We don’t know which day will be our last. We don’t know when Jesus will return. So we must be prudent, just as the virgins were prudent in storing up oil for their long journey.