Summary: A message geared to address what I felt was more of a negative attitude put forth in a message the previous week entitled "Cautions of Studying the End Times."
The Upside of Studying the End Times
March 1, 2009
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Me: Last week we talked about four cautions we should keep in mind when studying the end times.
And I railed against the extremism that’s present in the lives of many who are just obsessed with the end times instead of being obsessed with loving God and others.
Well I got to thinking that I may have unintentionally promoted another form of extremism, and that is to ignore the end times completely.
And I think that’s just as dangerous – and actually, even more dangerous because if we don’t understand at least some basic foundations, then we won’t be adequately prepared for what Jesus and other Scriptures tell us is coming before He returns.
I can be a person of extremes. It’s easy for me to reject something outright if I’m not careful.
For instance, because of a bad experience I had at a retreat, I rejected anything to do with the charismatic and Pentecostal movements.
I avoided some of my Pentecostal and charismatic friends like the plague. It was like, “Don’t speak to me. Especially in tongues.”
It was an extreme position because I refused to look and see the good that God is doing around the world through these people, and I couldn’t see that I could learn a few things about loving God.
God had to do some major softening of my heart over a number of years, and today I can thank God that my best friend is a Pentecostal pastor right here in Aberdeen.
We: The thing about extremism is that it’s a major turn-off to a lot of people. I’m turned off by things like obsession with the end times, and maybe some of you are as well.
So how do we avoid extremism, especially about this important issue?
Well, I think the answer lies in noting the four cautions we covered last week, and also taking into account the upside of studying the end times.
The antidote to extremism is balance. And in this case we need to see that there is a balance between the extremes of obsession and ignorance.
So my hope is that you’ll walk out of here today with a sense of balance regarding our study of the end times.
Let’s start of by looking at the four cautions from last week:
> Remember that no one has it all figured out.
At best, it’s all speculation.
> Remember that we are not to become obsessed with the end times.
> We are to be obsessed with loving God and loving others.
> Remember that the goal is not knowledge, but preparation.
Today I’d like to discuss five ways studying the end times should impact us on a personal level today.
A lot of what I want to share with you today I gleaned from The NIV Application Commentary, particularly about the last four points.
I’d love to tell you I thought of all this on my own, but quite honestly, I’m not all that smart at times, and the author of this volume of the commentary, Michael J. Wilkins, really helps put things in perspective, so I gratefully acknowledge that I’m sharing some of his wisdom with you today.
We’re not going to be able to spend a lot of time on each of these, but I think you’ll get a good idea on why it’s important that we not neglect the study of end times.
The first way this study should impact us is that…
1. Studying the end times should bring a sense of anticipation for Christ’s return.
One of the stigmas of end-times study is that it can come across as just a bunch of negative doom and gloom stuff, and that’s not the end-all of what the end times are all about.
The bottom-line of the end times is that Jesus is coming back. And that should bring some excitement to us.
We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.
What kind of day does it say it will be? Wonderful!
Any of you married? Did you look forward to your wedding day, or was it with a sense of dread and fear?
Hint: If your spouse is here, you need to say you looked forward to it, okay?
I don’t know of a single kid who doesn’t look forward to Christmas. Or to their birthday. They’re excited about it.