“Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near…Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him”- Revelation 1:3, 7
It is a well-known fact that every Christian denomination, ministry or grouping has at least a particular position on what constitutes the end-times. Regrettably, sermons on the end-times are gradually becoming extinct in the modern church particularly in Malawi. For whatever reasons, most preachers today shun this area in the process creating a wrong impression in their followers that the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ does not include such messages.
The gospel, according to most modern preachers, is viewed solely as centered on equipping believers on how victoriously and prosperously they can be in this life as a result of their newly-acquired salvation in Christ Jesus. Matters concerning the futurist events like Rapture, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Heaven, Hell, the Millennium, the reign of the Anti-Christ or Son of Perdition as held in Bible prophecy[particularly in Apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation] are hence rendered irrelevant and not worthy spending time on.
However, what these men and women of God forget is that embracing such a stance has the potential of suppressing in believers any futurist hopes as foretold in Bible prophecy. Consequently, believers may begin to solely focus on the attainment of the glories of this life and pay little to attention on issues [For instance issues of holiness, “For without holiness no one will see God”]that matter most in as far as the attainment of the more glorious eternal life set before them is concerned.
This observation is echoed by Wayne Grudem. A Professor in Systematic Theology, Grudem warns: “the more Christians are caught up in enjoying the good things of this life, the more they neglect genuine Christian fellowship and their personal relationship with Christ, the less they will long for his return. To be ready for Christ’s return is to be faithfully obeying him in the present, actively engaged in whatever work he has called us to”.
It is therefore in view of the above that End-time sermons should no longer be ignored in our respective Christian gatherings. The very fact that Jesus Christ, himself, offered end times sermons to his disciples while on earth speaks volume of the importance of preaching such sermons today.
In other words, why did Jesus tell the disciples what the signs of the end would be if He didn’t want them to discuss it? Why did the Holy Spirit inspire Matthew, Luke, Mark, Paul, John and others to include end times Chapters in their books if He didn’t want future generations to know the End-Times? Why did the Holy Spirit inspire John on the island of Patmos to dedicate the entire book of Revelation – the revelation of Jesus Christ- to eschatological events if He didn’t want the future generations to know the End-Times?
The answer is simple. God wanted his followers to know what is going to happen at the end for at least two reasons. One that Christians are to find hope and comfort in the return of the Lord. Second is that Christians are to warn humanity that one day God is going to judge the world and its inhabitants, and that the only way to escape this is by accepting the gracious free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ who is the atoning sacrifice of our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (I John 2: 2).
Just as it is with salvation and prosperity messages, end times sermons should also be preached in our churches in order to prepare the church for His coming and other futurist events; to remind the church of a greater glory and eternal life in heaven; and to help the church understand the times in which it is living. Most importantly, end times sermons remind and encourage the body of Christ to take the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) seriously in the face of the impending futurist events.
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon” – Revelation 22: 20