Once again we return to our teaching on His Remnant Church in the Last Days. In our last two posts we have been looking at four of six responsibilities we see for His Remnant Church. Those first four are; (1) To understand Worship, and to Worship God in spirit and in truth; (2) To study and discern the Word of God; (3) To speak, preach, and teach sound doctrine; and (4) To defend sound doctrinal teaching while standing for Jesus Christ in these last days.
And so the fifth responsibility of His Remnant Church is watchfulness. Jesus is coming soon; the signs of the times get clearer every day.
Understanding Christ’s teaching in Matthew 24 brings us to the conclusion that the end of this age must be near. Seeing the fulfillment of prophecy as God’s chosen people Israel are a re-established nation in their own land, allows us to look at this passage and know that the end of all things is at hand. The wars and unrest in the Middle East, the signs of worldwide economic collapse, the cataclysmic events in nature all point to the end of days.
Yet we do not know when Christ will return for his church. In Matthew 24:42 Jesus said “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” And in Matthew 25:13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” With this truth before us, we must become watchmen in these last days. In Luke 21:36 Christ warned us, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong” 1 Corinthians 16:13, and to those in Thessalonica, “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6. In his first Epistle Peter wrote this warning to the church, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” 1 Peter 4:7
So we begin to see now how important is the command to watch. And, the biblical command to watch is several times coupled with the command to pray. Is prayer important? Extremely so!
Watching means correctly using our minds, and it is watching coupled with prayer that gives one the strength to survive temptations and difficult situations.
Watchfulness is needed now more than ever before in the history of the church. Those who are a part of His Remnant Church will not encumber themselves with legalistic denominational regulation, materialistic prosperity pursuits, self-centered promotion, humanistic compromise, or the vulgarity of an edifice designed for the glorification and comfort of man. The watchful believer will turn his eyes away from the sinful objectives and pursuits of this life, and instead will rebuke and reprove the wicked and their wickedness.
As long as Satan is the god of this world, he will continue his constant effort to co-opt the message of the true church, marginalize the gospel, and destroy God’s chosen people the Jews. Because Christians have neglected the need for watchfulness and prayer, their hearts and the heart of the church have been left open to the assaults of Satan. Spiritual and moral decay has crippled both the church and individual Christians because we have become lackadaisical in guarding our hearts and minds from the subtle compromising influences of the world. Tolerance and compromise have institutionalized a form of religion which has no foundation in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Only by returning to a state of watchfulness and prayer as Paul encouraged us in Ephesians 6:8, can the true believer and the true church, be prepared to truly serve Christ in these last days; and not only be prepared for, but truly long for and love His appearing.
We are to “eagerly wait for” Christ’s return, not just passively wait around (Hebrews 9:28). Jesus was emphatic that His followers should hope for His return, expect His return and pray for His return! In addition, our eager anticipation and delight should intensify as we see more and more world events fulfilling Bible prophecies—especially those that point to the increasing nearness of Christ’s return.
Peter warns us, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” 1 Peter 5:8. Staying aware of the powerful behind-the-scenes role of Satan and his demons enables us to understand the atrocious evil and wickedness of this world. It also enables us to “resist” them James 4:7.
In light of this, we are clearly also to watch, listen and read to keep up with world news, events, conditions and trends. God equipped us with the ability to study, learn, observe, analyze, judge and think. We must understand that God wants His people to ardently read and study, to think and contemplate. He wants us to be well-informed regarding the major geopolitical, cultural and spiritual issues and events of our time. God abhors ignorance, indifference and being “dull of hearing” Hebrews 5:11.
This is why God has given us His Holy Word the Bible, the True Word of God. It is the compiled spoken and written messages inspired by God and given to holy men of old so that we might have an example to live by and aspire to in life. The Bible is God’s divine revelation of absolute truth, which is just as relevant today as it ever was. God’s people are to be “people of the Book.” By contrast, most religions emphasize images, idols, symbols, feelings, and rituals.
The closer we draw to the second coming of Christ, the more urgent it is that we are watchful of the events in the world around us as we discern the signs of the times in which we live. We are living in the last days and soon this world will enter the fearful End Times of the Tribulation. If ever there was a time to pay attention and get prepared, it is now! His Remnant Church must have a clear, doctrinally sound, Biblical understanding of End Times prophecy.
By watching and praying, we are strengthened. We can help others understand what’s happening, plus we are more effective servants in God’s work in other ways! Our God-ordained responsibility is to watch and pray. Ignorance comes from ignoring, and God does not want us to be ignorant and “in darkness” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, as our role model certainly understood the issues, politics and personalities of His day. We should do likewise.
At the same time, we must avoid the mistake of going to the extreme; studying world affairs, history and even conspiracy theories more than the Bible. Without a sound understanding of God’s Prophetic Word and a dedication to live in light of it, we would risk being swept up in false teaching and dangerous doctrines. We need knowledge of End Time prophecy to know where to focus our attention and to know how to prepare ourselves and others for the things to come.
Take note of the watching, waiting, anticipation and preparedness in the following passage: “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching” Luke 12 35-36.
So then, this call to watchfulness and prayer is a call to understand the times, the coming tribulation, and to follow Christ now to avoid the things which will transpire after the rapture of the church.
This message is not a popular one in the world today. Those of us who hold a pre-tribulational, premillennial understanding of the Word are finding ourselves under continual attack from not only the world, but especially from within the “church.” There has arisen a new movement within the mainstream “church” that call themselves the “religious left.” They along with others reject the sovereignty of the covenant relationship God has with His chosen people, Israel. They follow a false theology which says that the church has replaced Israel, becoming “spiritual Israel.” This false doctrine permeates most denominational churches as well as Catholicism. They choose to ignore scripture, and denigrate those of us who hold to a literal translation and understanding of God’s word.
The result of the false doctrines being followed by most of the mainstream, modern, denominational, emergent, apostate churches and the false religions and cults, is that the remnant of believers who I believe make up His Remnant Church are about to face unprecedented persecution worldwide.
This then brings us to the sixth responsibility I see of His Remnant Church; to suffer persecution for the cause of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our Lord promised us it would be so. John, Peter, and Paul also write of persecution to come for true believers. Yet Christ has promised also, that He will preserve us and protect us.
I believe the responsibilities of His Remnant Church are very clear. Our calling is to worship, study, teach, defend, watch, and even to suffer. I believe we will suffer persecution, but in the end we will wear a robe and crown, and we will reign with Christ for eternity. We will look further up the responsibility of suffering persecution in part 11 of our study on His Remnant Church.
Until then, continue proclaiming to the world, Jesus is Coming Soon!