Connecting Point – October 25, 2023

One question I've been asked a number of times these last couple of weeks is, "Are we in the last days?" That question has been posed to me in response to the new conflict that has arisen between the terrorist organization Hamas and the nation of Israel. That conflict has already brought lots of tragedy and grief to the Israeli people, to some American families, and to innocent Palestinians in Gaza. For many years I've followed the One Year Daily Bible Reading Plan, and one of yesterday's Scriptures that I read referenced the last days. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:

  • "In the last days, there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religiously, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!"  

When you read those verses you probably are thinking, "We've been in the last days for a long, long time."

Jesus also referenced the "last days." Just a day prior to His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus' disciples came to Him asking what signs would accompany His return to earth and the beginning of the "last days." He responded to their question with these words.

  • "Don't let anyone mislead you, for many will come in My name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah.' They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don't panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won't follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.' Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are My followers. And many will turn away from Me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people.Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.  . . . And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:3-14)

Jesus also referenced the "end times in Luke 17:26-30. In that Scripture passage He basically said that "In the last days it will be like the days of Noah and Lot when people were drinking, eating and focusing on having fun with no real thought that that day would be their last day." Those actions described by Jesus seem to be the preoccupation of many people in our world today.

So, are we in the "last days?" I'm actually planning on teaching about the last days in a midweek series in the near future. I'm not sure if we are in the "last of the last days." But I'm sure we're closer than we've ever been. And I'm sure we had better be ready. We'd better be in a right relationship with the Lord, because Jesus' return and the "end of the world" could happen at any moment.

Are we in the last days?

So my question back to those who ask me if we're in the "end times" is, "Are you ready if Jesus should return today and life as we know it would cease?" Is your relationship with the Lord where it needs to be?: You can't say "Yes" to that question if you're not walking with the Lord, living for Him and being actively involved in a Church family. Are your relationships with others where they need to be? Have you accomplished the mission and ministry that the Lord put you on this earth to accomplish? Do all of your family members and friends have a relationship with the Lord and the guarantee of Heaven beyond this life? I hope that you can answer "Yes" to those questions. If you can't, take some steps that will enable you to answer "Yes" to those questions in the days and weeks ahead. Because the truth of the matter is, Jesus' return to earth and the "end of time" could occur at any time.

Jesus also spoke these words at the end of one discourse about the "end times." He said,  "But the one who endures to the end will be saved." Let's make sure that we're one of the ones who "endures to the end." 

By the way, if you're interested in learning about the "end times" with me in the near future, watch for our social media posts or message us at info@celebrationchurch.org. I look forward to teaching that midweek series to you and many others in the near future.

This Sunday and next week we'll be concluding our CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE Spiritual Growth emphasis. In this emphasis we've learned that people choose to live either Natural  lives apart from God, Spiritual lives in a close relationship with God, or Carnal lives where they know the Lord but are still living by the values and principles of the world. And in this series we've learned that to live Spiritual lives we must choose to: 1) Acknowledge our Struggles, 2) Clean up our Act, 3) Pray Effectively, 4) Follow God's Direction, 5) Live by Faith and 6) Live daily in the Power of God's Spirit. We have one last principle that we're going to learn this coming Sunday and next week. We must choose to Make A Difference. I hope that you will plan to join this Sunday so you can learn this important principle, and learn how to put it into practice in your life.

By the way, we would love to hear back from you about how the CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE sermons, Life Group studies and daily devotions have impacted your life. If you're willing to share that with us, please send your CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE story to us at info@celebrationchurch.org.

I want to tell you again how much I love, admire and appreciate our Campus Pastors, Executive Staff and Ministry Staff at Celebration Church. Every day I pray for our Campus Pastors and their family members, and several times each week I pray for the rest of our Church Staff as well. In this month that has been designated, Pastors Appreciation Month I encourage you to show your appreciation in some tangible ways to those Pastors and Ministry Staff that have most impacted your life.

They will be greatly encouraged by your expressions of encouragement and appreciation to them.
This coming Sunday we will be participating in Communion as well as concluding our CHOICES THAT LEAD TO CHANGE sermon series. Be sure to join us. And encourage some friends and family members to come with you.
Remember, Jesus Changes Everything,
  
Pastor Dennis Watson
Lead Pastor, Celebration Church
dennisw@celebrationchurch.org
  dennis.watson.96
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