What about my connecting flight? Larry thought.
A few minutes later a young mother struggled down the aisle, diaper bag on one arm, baby in the other. A second child held her hand. Larry winced remembering his selfish thoughts.
Once in the air, the pilot said, “We’ll make up the time. You’ll arrive on time for your connecting flights.” The stragglers hadn’t made them late.
Larry thought of that as we discussed 2 Peter 3. Christ’s return feels slow to us, but it will come right on time. Compassion, not apathy, motivates the delay.Christ’s return feels slow to us, but it will come right on time. Compassion, not apathy, motivates the delay. #hope, #RefreshingFaith Click To Tweet
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV).
Working While We Wait for Christ’s Return
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, His disciples wanted to know when He’d set up His kingdom. Like them, I want to know His timetable too.
He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 1:7-8 NIV).
His words remind me of Deuteronomy 29:29. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (NIV). God reveals what we need to know to do His will. If He hasn’t told us when—then we don’t need to know.God reveals what we need to know to do His will. If He hasn’t told us when—then we don’t need to know. #Faith, #trust Click To Tweet
In Acts, Jesus’s words sound like a statement of fact. In Matthew 28:18-22 they are given as a command. He commands us to be His witnesses, and the Holy Spirit empowers us to be His witnesses.
The Greek word for witness is martys. We get our English word martyr from it. Eleven of the twelve disciples became martyrs in their witness for Christ. Men, who hid after Jesus’s crucifixion, willingly laid down their lives after spending forty days with the risen Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit.
The Bible calls the last seven years before Christ’s return the Great Tribulation. More believers will suffer martyrdom during that time than any time in history.
I believe the church will meet Jesus in the air before the worst comes upon the earth. But I don’t know how bad it will get before the rapture of believers. This leads me to two takeaways.
- The Holy Spirit empowers us to be faithful witnesses. The Spirit uses the Word of God to guide and protect us ( Ephes. 6:14-17, Heb. 4:12-12). For the strength to stand and be true to the end, we must continually read God’s word and walk in His Spirit.
- Like the pilot who waited for stragglers, Christ’s delay allows others to be saved. Those who don’t come to Him before the rapture of the church will be left behind to endure the worst persecution in history. “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened” (Matt. 24:22 NIV).
No matter what book of the Bible I’m reading, end times verses continue to pop up. Many of us feel we’ve entered a pivotal time in history. May we wake up and be faithful to Christ’s command. It’s time to invite as many as possible to board the plane before takeoff.
As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (Jn. 9:4 NIV).
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Thursday Evening Fall Bible Study for Women
Our daughter Ginny Wilson will be leading a Zoom study this fall. The group will go through Henry Cloud’s book Never Go Back. He looks at the top 10 awakenings we need to be successful and walks us through the key areas that hold people back from enjoying the freedom and abundant life Jesus died to give us.
The group starts September 16th. It runs 14 weeks and meets on Zoom Thursdays at 7 p.m. EST. Let us know if you are in so I can add you to the group.