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Listen to the episode here: https://gospelofeverything.com/podcast/the-self-fulfilling-nature-of-end-times-obsession
Welcome to the Gospel of Everything Podcast where we consider everything in the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am your host, Jon Davis.
On this show, we do not obsess over the end of the world, but rather we are looking to see the glory of God show up in every area of our lives.
We are not waiting to go down in glorious defeat. We are expecting to win.
Greetings and welcome back, Victorious Kingdom Ambassadors. This is Jon Davis, the host and chief talker here at the Gospel of Everything Podcast. Back from a hiatus of some time due to a family emergency and very much glad to be back on track.
The Gospel of Everything podcast, where we - which is you and me - consider all of life in the light of the Gospel of Jesus.
And it's where we look to inspire, connect with, and mobilize each other. You and me, my fellow Victorious Kingdom Ambassadors
What is a Victorious Kingdom Ambassador?
Someone who is not looking obsessively for the end of the world, but rather is looking to bring God's Kingdom more and more into the world now and in eternity.
A Victorious Kingdom Ambassador is someone who is not looking to change the world by humanistic manmade ideas, but rather by embracing God's revelation and everything that flows from it.
A Victorious Kingdom Ambassador is someone who is not looking to be saved by another political government scheme, but rather is looking to be saved by Jesus and then expecting to live out Jesus in every area of life and society.
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At the time of this recording what are most in the news are that Russia has invaded Ukraine. And it's been going on for weeks now, so it's no longer new.
My episode today isn't about that, but it is inspired by that because predictably, you can see on my very Facebook feed and the discussions that I have been a part of and I'm sure you will have observed this too, or at least some of you will, that basically many Christians are saying, well, here it is, here we go. Russia again, like in the Bible, right? This must be the end times. This is the end of the world.
I have been around long enough to notice that oftentimes Christians go straight to the end of the world whenever anything really bad happens in it, especially if it's something that sounds like some of the scary prophecies they've heard. But is that the right response to the events that are going on in the world at any time?
There's at least a couple of questions to ask regarding this.
One question would be, is this really the end times that we're living in?
That's one question, another one would be should our response be to notice that the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket and maybe we should just try and get some people saved?
I'm mostly going to be talking in the general realm of the second question today.
I will say for your benefit that I do not believe we are living in any end times.
Although if I find myself flying through the air to meet Jesus, I will happily admit that I was wrong about that one without any regret.
But much more important to me today for this episode is that I want to explore with you the consequences in the real world - God's real world of the great mass of Christians being driven by an end times obsession.
I then want you to see that the general world view that the whole world is going to decline into horrific evil and then end has a self fulfilling tendency.
And that is why the title of this episode, at least at the time that I'm recording this is The Self Fulfilling Nature Of End Times Obsession.
So I'm not going to get so much into the theology of the end times as the consequences of theologies of the end times, or at least the consequences of the applications.
You can have a theology, but be wrong about the application, right?
But here. Consequence number one: If everything's just going down anyway, why polish the brass on a sinking ship?
If you're on the Titanic and it's sinking, is this the right time to rearrange the tables or to repaint the murals or to redo the decorations?
Whatever your theology of the end times is, being obsessed with the end of the world tends to lead people to see no point in trying to reform society. There's no vision for Reformation or change.
Consequence number two: It often leads to a focus on end times revival. If everything is just going to burn anyways, there is not much point trying to build a Kingdom reality manifested into the here and now.
Rather, why wouldn't we just try and harvest as many people into the eternal Kingdom of Salvation as we can?
We don't need to teach people how the Kingdom of God works in business, art, communication, government, education, etc.
We just need to get them saved so they don't go to hell.
An over emphasis on individual fire insurance Salvation as opposed to the more comprehensive Christianity that we actually see in the Bible.
Consequence number three: Incompletely discipled people don't have any idea how to respond to what is going on in the world or what to do to change the world.
A comparison: What was it that the great Protestant reformers believed that caused them to have a great impact on all of life?
They believed that reform was not only possible, but at the core of God's plan.
A Church and Christian culture that is mostly only good within the four walls of the Church and to get some people saved is the result of an end times obsession that doesn't see any hope for anything other than eternity.
It ends up with an irrelevant sidelined Church.
Consequence number four: the absence of the Church discipling the nations will be fulfilled by something or someone.
What or who?
Right now, the secular humanist worldview is ruling over the people of God in the world because Christians do not believe that they can win on this side of history.
All Christians believe that we can win an eternity, but there's not a belief that we can win in the here and now by actually bringing real change into the world.
So the consequences culture, society, and all of life are left to be ruled by and discipled by the enemies of God.
Consequence number five: the human soul, which is designed to be fruitful and multiply and take Dominion and conquer and glorify God through every thought and effort of life, will either shrivel or look for somebody with a vision for the world to follow.
The next generation in their natural God given desire to change the world will drift away from the irrelevant seeming faith of their parents and follow the exciting sounding vision of the secularists.
So here's a summary of the five consequences that I just shared with you that I have observed and I can see about end times obsession.
One, you have Christians with no vision for reforming society.
Two, there's an over emphasis on individual fire insurance Salvation, as if that were the main thing or even the only thing we should just preach the gospel. That's what people mean by that.
A sidelined Church. Number three, a sidelined Church that is mostly only relevant inside the four walls of the Church.
Number four, a society and culture that are increasingly possessed by, ruled by, and destroyed by the enemies of God.
And number five, the loss of future generations to the enemies of God.
So thinking of all this, what do you think it will lead to?
A Church with no vision for Reformation, an obsession with individual Salvation only? A life only relevant in the churchy Christian world? A culture and society ruled by God's enemies? A loss of future generations to the devil?
Here's my prediction of what this will lead to:
This will lead to exactly what we are seeing in the world today, or at least where it seems to be heading. The world going to hell in a handbasket and getting worse and worse and worse.
Only it is not because of the so called end times. It is because of us, the Christians. It is because we are not doing, believing and living what we are supposed to do believe and live.
Everything-must-get-worse-and-worse-end-times obsession is self fulfilling. We cause something that looks like the very thing we think is supposed to happen.
The very thing we are focused on is happening because we are focused on it, or at least something that looks like it.
Of course, this disaster that we are creating isn't the real end of the world, but it may very well be the end of the world as we know it.
There can be great loss and suffering.
We might lose America as we know it.
We might lose Western civilization as we know it. Maybe we already have.
But this is not the end of all time. This is just the consequences of our bad choices and the choices of those who have gone before us.
What did the Pilgrims that came to America have that made them world builders rather than end times obsessors?
Among other things, they had a hardcore belief that they could and should work to build the Kingdom of God on Earth.
I have so much more to say about this topic, but hey, this is only one episode, right?
I hope this episode has challenged you to rethink your priorities.
Whatever your belief is about the end times, is it your intention to cause something that looks like your end times belief by being overly obsessed with it?
We can work on what our eschatology is in detail later, but even if your eschatology disagrees with mine, I hope you can see that it can be a huge and consequential mistake to always being obsessed with the end times and trying to interpret everything that happens in the world as a sign of the end times rather than working to change what we see and create a better future.
I believe that as long as Christians live in a self imposed feeling of helplessness due to an end times obsession, we won't be able to rule the world with God's love and vision and ways like we are supposed to.
We are not meant to just wait for the end of the world while maybe working towards an end times harvest of individual salvations.
I want you to pause and think of these two obsessions.
What are a group of Christians who are primarily thinking this is the end, this is the end, this is the end going to do?
All you have to do is look through the past decades and you'll see what they're going to do. The emphasis will be on mass revivals sweeping people into the Kingdom.
What would happen if there were the masses of Christians, not just a couple of us with the masses of Christians around the world believed that they were supposed to live out the commands of God, the teachings of Jesus, the ways of the Kingdom of God in every area of life all over the world?
What would happen if Christians were really doing that?
Now we can't help but do it some because we have the Holy Spirit in us, right?
But what if that was actually our view? What if the next time some global disaster happens, or some one country invades another or something bad happens?
Rather than throwing your hands in the air and saying, this is it, here we go. This is the end. Why not rather be obsessed with what can I do about it?
I can pray about it. I can take actions. Maybe I can give money in some cases. Maybe I can go and be a physical part of the solution, but I can definitely set apart my life to be a long term solution so that a future generation has a better go at it. This is one of the great things about multi generational Christianity.
You don't have a focus on multi generational Christianity if you're obsessed with the End Times.
I remember seeing a friend once after hearing a stirring message in a Church service about how this is clearly the end of the world and the Antichrist is coming, stood up with great agony and said, what about my son? What am I supposed to teach my son?
What is he supposed to teach his son?
I wish I had a son to teach, but I wouldn't be teaching him. "This is it. This is the end."
I would be teaching him to be an arrow launched by God into the world, to be the next reformer, to be the next scientist, to be the next amazing doctor, author, artist, or to be just a good father and a good provider and a good pillar of service in his community, whatever it is.
That's what I would be teaching him with a vision in his heart and in his mind that the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Not that the Earth is all going to go to hell in a handbasket and oh well, Jesus is going to save us.
It's self fulfilling. We cause something that looks like the very thing we believe but isn't actually it.
We make the world worse by obsessing about the End Times.
Let me remind you again what we are supposed to be obsessing about.
It's right at the end of the book of Matthew, and I'll probably share this verse over and over and over and over again on this podcast. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations. Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
Have a good think about that. And please notice that the emphasis is not on mass evangelism crusades.
I'm not saying we shouldn't ever do those. I'm not saying God can't use those. But it's not about this mass evangelism crusades and sweeping people into Salvation from hell en mass before the end.
There is an emphasis on discipling nations and teaching nations to obey everything Jesus commanded.
Ponder again what I already mentioned. Why did the founders of America, the founders of Western civilization, and the various movements in history throughout Western civilization, build nations, build ways of life, build systems of government invent things, create things in so many ways put their hands to the plow and make the world better?
Whilst we are losing it, we're losing what they gained. We are letting it slip between our fingers.
I believe at least one reason is many of those founders and many of those generations believed it was possible to serve and live and advance the Kingdom of God in the Earth. And they weren't looking for a fiery end. They were looking for a glorious future.
I realize this may be a significant challenge to some people who are listening.
And I do want to say there are a lot of people that see this differently than what I'm telling you that I respect. Some of them I'm convinced are my betters.
But I'm pretty sure that God wants me to speak about this because it's a self fulfilling problem.
We are causing problems in the world by obsessing about the end rather than getting to work.
It is so pervasive. It has even affected the culture in general.
Think about what movies are about, destructive, catastrophic, apocalyptic movies and how common that is.
We have discipled the nations, but not in the truth.
We have discipled the nations to be looking for a horrific end.
And they're doing it. They're making up their own versions, even the evolutionary versions and the atheist versions.
The world is following the people of God.
It's hard. I'm telling you, it's not going to be easy to look at what's going on in the world when your whole life, however old you are, you've been being trained by your Church. There may be some exceptions out there, but most of the Christians I know this is true. You've been being trained by your pastor and your Church and the books you read and the movies you see to be waiting for the horrific end.
I do not believe this is the vision. God wants us and God wants you, you listener right now, where you're sitting, where you're hearing. I do not believe God wants you to obsess over the horrific end of the world.
I believe God wants you to see into the future a glorious Kingdom manifest on Earth.
Why did Jesus say, Pray thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Did he just mean someday after the bodily return of Christ? I don't think so.
Why would we be praying only for the return of Christ?
We know he's coming.
We are to be praying.
And in the book of Matthew at the end, the great Commission doing acting so that the Kingdom of God comes on Earth.
How is God's will done in heaven? Perfectly. We want to see God's Kingdom come on Earth the way that it is in heaven. We want to pray it. We want to act on it. We want to preach it, teach it, and do it.
I'm talking about a paradigm huge gargantuan change in your brain, in your obsession, getting rid of some books that you got and replacing them with some other ones.
Getting rid of all the books about how the world is coming to an end. The fiction books, the non fiction books and looking for those books on how to change the world, how to be a better father, how to be a better mother, how does education work? How to be a more successful business person, how to change the culture where you work, not just being nice at work so that some people get saved, but actually being a more product, a more productive, more excellent atmosphere that is blessing the world.
Whatever you're doing at work, it's meant to bless the world. Did you know that?
Don't forget, Jesus is the very God of the whole Bible and he was there for all of it. So everything he commanded has to do with the story of the whole book, not just the end of the book. We're not talking about Revelation, which I'm not convinced is about what people think it's about anyway, but we're talking about Genesis to Revelation, the whole thing.
Well, I hope all this that I have been sharing makes you think and gives you hope. And I do appreciate so much you taking the time to listen to this episode.
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Thanks again and I look forward to talking to you next Episode.
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Listen to the episode here: https://gospelofeverything.com/podcast/the-self-fulfilling-nature-of-end-times-obsession