The New Testament church was born in a blaze of glory. The Holy Ghost came down upon it with fire, and the first Christians spoke with tongues and prophesied. They experienced smiting conviction, and multitudes were converted. The fear of God fell upon them and upon all who saw them. Jails could not hold them and storms could not drown them. There were signs, wonders, and miracles. Fearless evangelists went everywhere preaching the Word and when their possessions were seized, they continued to rejoice. When they were stoned, hanged, burned or crucified, they went out singing and praising God. It was a triumphant church, unafraid of Satan, irreverent toward idols, unmoved by plagues or persecution. It was a blood-washed church, living and dying in victory.
What is the last-hour church going to be like? How will the church go out in its final hour? As a fat, prosperous, self-seeking church or will it be just a handful of true believers holding on, watching death and apostasy eat away at it like a cancer? Will coldness leave it weak, mocked, and powerless? Will the church go out of this age full of hypocrisy, with unclean hands and impure hearts offering strange fire with great praise, worship and prayer meetings?
To be sure, there is going to be a great falling away or apostasy. There will be spiritual harlotry on all sides. And because sin abounds, the love of many will grow cold. Deceivers will come, teaching doctrines of demons. People will have itching ears and will flock to hear soft preaching. Deceptions will get so bad that even the elect will be tested severely.
But the church of Jesus Christ is not going out with a whimper or a limp. It is going out victorious, with joy unspeakable, riding a river of peace. It is going out in freedom from all bondage, with its foot on Satan's neck. And every member of this true church will live and die without fear. The tempter's power will be broken. Christians will be holy and will tear down idols. They will be just as strong in the Lord as the first Christians.
“In the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2:17).