Would any of us had thought this is what the world would look like twenty years ago? Maybe that’s one of the reasons God doesn’t reveal what is going to happen each day. If we did know, we wouldn’t want to go or we would find some way to mess it up. Thankfully for those who believe in the Lord, we can rest on the assurance that He is in control, no matter how bizarre things look.
What will the next twenty years look like? I am not a visionary, nor do I believe God has given me a glimpse of the future but I do ask for wisdom each day and that the wisdom He gives me glorify Jesus. That being said, I do think about what the church, and by this I mean the people who are true followers of Christ, will look like in the future.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
Matthew 7: 15-20 (NIV).
It’s hard to imagine that it would look any different than it does now. For the most part, I believe that it will look like it does now. Folks getting up on a Sunday morning and going through the normal routine of worship service, some will be a little more dedicated and show up for Bible Study and then you will have the irregular attenders who are here one week and not the next. The smaller Wednesday night group will still show up faithfully and the world will seem as it always has.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7: 21-23 (NIV).
But the “True” church will be underground. By “True”, I mean the people who seek to live by the Word of God and not the politically correct scripture interpretation of the day. The people who seek to be convicted of their sin, no matter how trendy and socially acceptable it is. They will have long tired of the entertainment driven, what have you got for me worship of the masses. They will meet in homes, in much smaller groups, witnessing will be vital but could come with a high price. Pastors who refused to water down the Gospel message will retire or step down from cultural churches and begin to minister and preach to this small remnant. The people in turn will support them financially with their tithes and offerings.
Depending on the influence or limitations put in place by an ever increasing secular government, sharing the Gospel may become a criminal activity. It could cost you jail time or worse, your life. The only public displays of religion will be approved by authorities to ensure that no one is offended, except those who refuse to deny the Gospel. Tolerance will reign supreme. There will be so many ways to God, even the atheist will be included. Welcome to Burger King Heaven, have it your way, we’re all good.
Secret Church has come to America.
I offer these thoughts in support:
Society is becoming more intolerant of what the Bible says and followers of Christ believe day by day. To the point that TV folks are openly mocking those that pray. It is my contention that there is only one reason why our President will not use the term “Radical Islam.” Because using the term “Religious Extremist” allows Christians to be thrown in when we don’t agree or support secular progressive programs. For an example, pick your gender, be whatever you want. To use the term Radical Islam would be to separate Christians and acknowledge the real enemy, which is not beneficial politically.
At some point, to maintain the secular movement and stop the perceived hate speech, bigotry and closed mindedness, the government will use the “Tax Exempt” status of the church to force them into line. What quicker way to get someone’s attention? Go to the wallet and you’ve got our attention. How many people would continue to tithe and give if they couldn’t deduct it on their taxes? How many churches would stand and continue to preach the Gospel and live with losing the tax exempt benefits?
While society grows more intolerant of Christ, it grows more infatuated with itself. Can we even comprehend what life was like before posting, twitting, chatting and selfies? It’s all about me, give me, serve me, like me, friend me, me, me, me. We have taken “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” and turned it into “Love myself as I love myself.” Now, the three most popular people in the world are Me, Myself and I.
Finally, Jesus said it would be this way. He said we would be persecuted. Of course, we have had it so good and so easy for so long, we can’t really comprehend what this persecution will look like. Will we tolerate being the outcast, being made fun of? Or will we blend into the crowd and deny the Gospel.
Jesus said that following Him would divide father against son and so on. He said the path was narrow and only a few would find it. Do we really have a concept of what few means?
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7: 13 & 14 (NIV).
You could take this and think that the future is gloomy. Honestly, it truly will be gloomy for some. But for those who seek to be followers of Christ, the future is anything but gloomy. The victory is won. Death has been defeated. God is on His throne and Christ sits at His right side! While there is still time left we can do all we can to tell others about and show the love of Jesus. They may reject Him and try to harm us but some will come. For the some that will come it will mean an eternity with the King of Kings. My prayer is that we would work to make sure the “few” are as many as possible.
Run to the Cross!