Thursday, June 16, 2016

WHAT IS AHEAD FOR THE CHURCH?


What is ahead for the church of Jesus Christ? This is a question of great concern to believers worldwide. As cataclysmic events take place all over the globe, many are wondering, “Is the Holy Spirit going to revive the Church before Jesus returns? Will Christ’s Body leave this world with a whimper or with a shout?”

The New Testament is filled with predictions of a last-days falling away. False prophets will rise up and lead many astray. Wolves will come in sheep’s clothing, bringing powerful deceptions to “deceive, if possible, even the elect of God.” Wickedness will abound, causing once-hot believers to lose their first love. With the flood of iniquity to come, the love of many will grow cold.

Jesus prophesied these very things and His warnings were meant to challenge our faith. As overwhelming iniquity floods the earth, He asks: “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

Christ knew everything we would be witnessing today: horrifying school shootings; the rise of militant homosexuality; terrorist acts taking place throughout the world. In the midst of these things, He asks us, “Will you continue to believe, though things wax worse? Will you faint in your confidence when things don’t happen as you thought they would? Or, will you continue to trust in Me?”

Despite the rise in iniquity and the occurrence of great calamities, Jesus knew there would be a great last-days revival. The Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah’s prophecies, and He knew full well about the prediction of a revival as the end draws near.

Isaiah said there would be a great, worldwide awakening just prior to Christ’s return. This prophecy is found in Isaiah 54 and is summed up in these verses: “Thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited” (54:3).

I believe with a number of Bible scholars that Isaiah’s prophecy has a dual application. It speaks not only about natural Israel after captivity in Babylon, but also about the spiritual Israel that was to come: the Body of Jesus Christ, the Church of the New Jerusalem. Paul quotes from Isaiah 54 when he refers to the “Jerusalem which is above . . . the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:26). Paul saw Isaiah’s prophecy as directed “to the children of promise,” those in Christ by faith.