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July 30, 2021 6:00 am
Walking with Jesus in our day often means your unpopular target for harassment ridiculed, maybe even persecution.
How do you stand firm in your faith. How do your kids stand firm in their faith when it becomes increasingly unpopular to be a follower of Jesus to be misunderstood to be called hateful when what you're trying to do is actually love God, what a dilemma.
That's today. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Living on the Edges of international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christian know about you, but the picture trip to Spain. It was quite a Christian.
So how should we respond in this program will discover how we can withstand relentless attacks against her as most of you know, chips a regular Bible for the series is passed microphone to a trusted longtime friend John Dickerson. John is been focusing on the moral decay of our society are called to remain committed to Christ.
We hope this is been a very challenging series. So if you would moment after this message at church with a friend, either through the chipping roadmap or by downloading the free MP3 LivingontheEdge.org John with part two of this message. Where will the sleep. Here's the third thing is the global rise of Islam. Islam is the fastest growing religion or ideology in the world is growing at a rate of 76%. Right now Christians are about one in three people in the world. This includes all your different brands of Christians are 31 flavors you now Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant about all of them.
Okay, about one in three people in the world today says I'm a Christian. About one in five people in the world today claims to be a Muslim.
That's rapidly growing and by the time we get to 2050 out of every three people in the world. One will be a Christian one will be a Muslim, and one will be something else either communist or Hindu or atheist or agnostic.
This is interesting to me but you know sometimes we meet people in American society right now is that all religion doesn't really matter while if you look at world demographics religion matters picked religion in every century of world history has been almost the most important thing of what happens among nations. So, okay, I'm giving you a little glimpse. But let's ask away. More important question. What if we could ask Jesus this question.
Where will all these things lead with anyone know what Jesus says, I mean if we get like bring them out here, and political microphones on them like Jesus.
Where will all of this lead will believe it or not. We know his answer because his disciples asked him the exact same question, and it's recorded for us in Matthew 24 so let's see the question and let's see Jesus answer to the question as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of olives, the disciples came to him privately tell us they said when will this happen.
This is when Christ will return to set up his kingdom on earth. And what will be the sign of your coming. Christians always want to know how do we know when it's the end times. What will be the sign. Christians always want to know which is good because was mostly looking forward to it.
But Jesus said, no one knows the day or the hour. No one can predict.
And so Isaac Newton predicted will be the year 2060 so I'm hoping to live long enough to see if he was right. Who knows what we don't know no one can predict the day or the hour.
Even Jesus when he was on earth said in his humbled form when he was on earth. I don't even know at that time. So what will be the signs of your coming and the end of the age.
In other words, from the time Adam and Eve send in the garden of Eden until Christ returns to clean up the whole mass and redeem it and judge evil and sentenced Satan to a lake of fire and redeem those who believed in him all of history is called the age. In this passage that includes Egypt that includes Roman includes the Soviet Union and Napoleon and us right now we're living in this age that will and when Christ returns and the disciples say ones that going to be will. Jesus starts to answer and will pick up in verse six of his answer he says you will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it.
Choose that you will not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still the comes up we look back, between where we are and when Jesus said this 2000 years ago there been lots of wars there been world wars. There been civil wars. There been regional wars and there been lots of Christians who lived through those wars and Jesus says if you see war in your lifetime. Don't panic as part of the process until I return of humanity see to it that you're not alarmed and then he says this nation will rise against nation, and kingdom.
That's when there is a conglomerate of nations against kingdom.
There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. So it's like one when a pregnant mother is at eight or nine months and the contraction start getting closer and closer and stronger and stronger. Jesus says if you see the world shaking. Don't let it shake your faith. It means that the contractions are happening and it's getting closer and closer to the birth which in this case is Christ's return says this in verse 10. At that time many will turn away from the face. So Jesus predicts that as the end gets closer. Some things will get harder for some Christians and met in some parts of the world that seems to align with the data we've got many he says will turn away from the faith. Many will say that is just too hard to to be a Christian in this world and he says many will betray and hate each other as many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people want to camp on this for just a minute because as I was reading this text.
Matthew 24 is one of my favorite of the prophetic texts because it's from Jesus in the book of Daniel's got a lot of amazing stuff. Book a second Peter is rich, but this is straight from the mouth of Jesus and what was so interesting to me as I read this verse. Having looked at all this data and research about world beliefs right now and where things are heading. Is this that many, he says, many will turn away from the faith, so there's going to be a time when there are a lot of Christians and a whole bunch turn away so the pew research Center. They actually have a statistic.
It's called switching in and switching out in religious terms.
We call it conversions when someone converts from Christianity to Judaism or from Buddhism to Islam. A person can convert.
We all have our own free will and by pews at standards of measurement of what's happening today when they projected out over the next 30 years.
The largest switching out of any religion in the world is actually Christianity there's a -66 million 66 million people who were born into Christian families raised going to church will abandon the faith.
At today's rates between now and 2050.
Now Christianity will hold its spot as a percentage of the population because Christianity is growing in certain parts of the world like Sudan, South Africa, Southern Africa, China, even Christian is growing but where will this -66 million happen mostly, according to pew researchers in the United States and in Western Europe. Very interesting. You know Christianity in the world is so much bigger than the United States with to remind ourselves of that as Americans, but was thinking man these words here. Many will betray and hate each other man that just describes the political climate in our nation right now doesn't it. Many will betray and hate each other.
This is many false prophets will appear. You think about profit, that such a like old word from you, not thousands of years ago who uses the word profit anymore. Well, the one in five people in the world who are Muslim today. The one in three people in the world were projected to be Muslim by 2050. They use the word profit every day when they pray their memorized prayers to their God Allah. They reference their Prophet Mohammed. So Jesus says as the end gets closer.
There will have been many Christians and many will turn away as the end gets closer. You'll see people hating and betraying each other as the end gets closer. You'll see many people deceived by false prophets, all that seems to align with what were seeing. I'm not. I'm not given a date or anything, okay.
Don't get me wrong was a very interesting this was written 2000 years ago and that the fact that I'm siding are all statistics from non-Christian researchers is just interesting how God's word aligns with reality.
Even 2000 years later because of these changes. Jesus says in verse 12 because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most people will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the and will be saved. This my heart for you as a pastor I just I want you to stand firm to the end, no matter what happens in your life.
I want your kids to stand firm to the end. I want your grandkids to stand firm to the end. I want us to be a church of believers is, no matter whatever happens in the world or in our world, we will be the ones whose love does not grow cold and who stands firm to the end.
I guess with me about that. That's what were that's what the series is about. It's not just about gaining knowledge about choosing to say we are strengthening our faith in verse 14 Jesus turns it positive. He says this good news of the kingdom.
The good news is that God loves all people.
He died on the cross for the sins of the world. He desires all people to come to salvation and anyone who places their faith in him has his forgiveness applied to them and he wants this good news of the kingdom of God to be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations. Jesus wrote this again back before his followers that even know what the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were they given no that South America existed and he says I'm gonna wait till I return until the whole world has heard about me.
I want every people group to have an opportunity to hear about me. And then Jesus says the end will come. So what will all these things lead to what weather happens in our lifetime, or 200 years from now. Ultimately these things will all lead to Christ's return. Ultimately these things will all lead to Christ's return so we know as we make our way through a desert land at times is that God will always give us our daily bread, and the Christ is returning to take us to the promised land. So how can we respond I want to very quickly give you three ways we can respond number one.
The world needs the church more than ever the world needs the church more than ever. What the world doesn't need is just an empty stodgy religious looking building, with a whole bunch of people who are only concerned about themselves.
That's how the world needs the world needs is the living, breathing body of Christ that loves the loss that seeks the loss that binds up the hurting, that helps the addicts that as the world gets crazier and darker and shakes that is a place of hope and rescue and healing and repair and restoration. I want to paint a mental picture for you of a giant lighthouse out on the coast up on new England where you got those rocky rocky coast and those cold Atlantic ocean waters and you got these big lighthouses that warned the ships don't come over here there's rocks over here if you come over here you'll be shipwrecked and you think back before GPS and back before electronic mapping. These lighthouses were a matter of life and death, and some of these lighthouses would have was called a lifesaving club, a lifesaving club was a group sometime there paid like firefighters. Sometimes they were volunteers and they would in a storm man, the White House and make sure that the light stayed on and then if there was a ship out there in a ship crashed on the rocks. They would ask you go out into the storm to rescue the shipwrecked and so the lighthouse was a life saving club.
I was reading car and driver magazine yesterday really religious publication. My favorite read every month in a car and driver is actually this column about a lifesaving club in Montana for motorists who who drive off the cliffs there and there's all these guys are jeeps and rappelling gear and in the they rush out to save the life won't imagine the church as this lighthouse that in the storms of life. Is this beacon of light and it's full of people who got into the storm to rescue people. We have to be careful about is that sometimes a lifesaving club can turn into a country club and will show up and you we got our plaques on the wall got all the lifejackets properly in line and get up but were coming to the club, but it really becomes about us instead of about the purpose and here's the thing. When we understand the word of God, the more mature we get is followers of Christ.
We understand this world is not our home, but were here for a purpose and is not to just bunker down and hunker down to just survive the storms. We will survive the storms and we will gather together and we have a refuge in any kind of storm that can happen in our personal lives or in the world. We have a refuge here. But the point of the refuge. The reason God didn't zap us right to heaven only believed is that every one of us is to be mobilized as part of a lifesaving club is there's people in our neighborhoods and in our families, in our schools who have shipwrecked on the rocks of life in their drowning in those icy cold waters.
And God has appointed us now to be his lifesaving club. Did you know right now that the fastest growing cause of death in the United States is not cancer, not diabetes is suicide. Suicide is rapidly the fastest growing cause of death in the United States. Our neighbors are drowning. Our neighbors are drowning in all the stuff about how the world changing. If were not careful, we can take an immature approach to civil.
How does this affect me. What am I gonna do, but here's the thing we are here to be the lifesaving club because we know how it's going and we know Christ is going to return to make everything right. We know our daily bread will be met every day but a lot of our neighbors don't have that hope a lot of our neighbors. They don't know where they're going to spend eternity there afraid of death. They don't know every day that their needs will be met. They don't have a heavenly father were here to be a lifesaving club. The church is needed by the world.
More than ever the true church. The pure church.
The church that serves and loves the loss. The church that is a light in the dark and secondly the church needs Christ more than ever. He's the light that we shine the hope that we declare is not, you know, just human ideas of self-improvement. The hope that we declare that the God who made every individual in his image and who loves them, came to this world as a person in Jesus Christ.
He died on the cross for their sins and they can have freedom from shame, freedom from guilt, they can have eternal life, and they can have peace and joy and fulfillment in this life and all this happens through Christ alone. The church needs Christ more than ever, as the world around us gets darker, if we're going to shine a light that's truly supernatural in its capacity and scope. It will only happen as we lift Christ hi and as we elevate him. The light of the church is Christ. We need his message. We need his power.
I was a mother's last night and I came up with a bumper sticker phrase for us. It's this hope in Christ before the crisis so you can stand strong in the crisis you know II guy kinda chuckle in the physical realm.
Whenever a hurricane hits Florida again or areas where they know there's hurricanes on the news they always show how you know Home Depot and Walmart, and everywhere all the generators are sold all the bottles of water gone and I always kinda laugh. Maybe it's because I'm a person who kind of think that a little bit but I think if you lived there.
When you buy a generator and water bottles like that right after you move into your house you're in, like a hurricane zone. You know why wait until the storm to just react and panic.
Why not just plan ahead and then the storm comes, no got a plan that's kind of the gist of this series is to know.
Like I don't know what storms life may throw at us. But I know what I need. It's a lot more than generators and water bottles. It's Christ. And so I'm get a hope in Christ before the crisis so that I can stand strong in the crisis and that will allow me and us as a church to not only provide for our kids and our loved ones, but to be a lifesaving club, and when other people are panicking and scrambling because of world events that were able to stand strong and have some stability and say we have peace we have stability. Come on in here. We got you covered is our heart in this series were hoping in Christ were choosing member. Jesus said, you'll hear about wars and rumors of wars. See to it choose that you're not alarmed. We can choose today we place our hope in Christ before the storm so we can stand strong in the storm, and so on. Christ, we've staked our lives, our fortunes are eternities, our families, our hopes and dreams rest on this reality that Jesus of Nazareth is God of the universe that he came down among us is Messiah that he died on the cross for the sins of the world that he rose again on the third day and that he will return to establish a kingdom of peace and prosperity, and until then, he will give daily bread to all of his followers, and he will sustain us. Peter writes in him in Christ you have everything necessary for life and for godliness.
The church has no power apart from Christ, but in Christ. The church has all the power of will ever need in Christ you have all the power you will ever need in Christ you can do all the things that he's called you to do. You have everything necessary for life and godliness in him. Romans 1513 puts it this way.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him is when you trust in him before the storm and in the storm.
That's when he fills you with joy and peace so that you may overflow with hope this is written to Christians were running for their lives. This is written to Christians were an uncomfortable situation and he says you will overflow with hope and they did. They continued to change the world. Why because they trusted in God and he filled them with his hope by the power of the same Holy Spirit who lives and breathes inside to you today is a follower of Christ third response for us is that now is the time to go all in for the kingdom now is the time. There are moments in life when you get shaken and you get perspective you very often as we do marriage counseling here for couples who are usually it's it's some kind of leader someone had an affair almost had a fair sum in the get shaken. There is, we gotta work on this, or sometimes you go along in your finances. All the sudden your as well, like I had to make some changes in the thing is when we really see where the world is headed outside of our suburban cocoon, but the rest of the world.
We see where it's headed. If we have got our own eyes open for reading the word of God, shake us up a little bit to cause not a panic but a sense of purpose and urgency with purpose, we say now is the time we are the richest Christians in all world history where the most free Christians in all world history with the ability to film a video or write a devotional about Jesus today and have Christians around the world. Here at today. No, no other church in history has had these opportunities that are before us and we we see this window of global peace. In this window of a prosperity. Opportunities not last forever. Now is the time for us to go all in and raising our kids for Christ and using what God has entrusted to us to tell others about Christ because our hope is in the one who will carry us safely to the promised land. When we understand where the world is headed. We can't go on living like Jesus is just another hope on a buffet of hopes when we understand what's happening humanly and spiritually in the world. We will have an urgency with our neighbors and our classmates are relatives to actually share with them.
Jesus is the only hope is only hope who will outlive the shaking of the world.
There is a true hope of nations like China tell you one true story and it's a story about a handful of people who change the course of world history in the early 1940s Germany was advancing Nazi Germany around Europe. They were blitzkrieg in these neighboring nations, and it literally looked like they were going to overtake the world look like Nazi Germany was good.
Overtake the world and it was at that time that the president Franklin Delano Resnick Roosevelt. He issued a call to Americans a set America I know we don't want to get another war after World War I, but we have the largest industrial manufacturing capacity of any country in the world and if we will retool it. We could become the Arsenal of democracy and we could send tanks and ammunition and planes to the good guys and help them win the war bows this bold vision. This big vision and at the time. A lot of Americans were still really comfortable here in America. The Nazis weren't anywhere close to the United States but there were a few people who saw where things were going and decided were going to go all in for democracy and for freedom and for what is right.
So what happened is a small handful of individuals. Edsel Ford was one of them of the Ford Motor Company, the CEO and president of General Motors at the time the CEO of Packard and of Chrysler. They all said we are going to retool our factories as we see where things are going and instead of building you know Chrysler automobiles. We are going to start building tanks. Why did they do this they had vision. They saw where the world was going and they saw a need and they rise we can meet the needs a lot of these automotive executives until the war ended. They worked for one dollar a year they they they they said were going to go all in. So Chrysler started building tanks for it up and up in Southeast Michigan started building these B 24 bomber airplanes in this massive industrial complex that was making automobiles switched.
Why, because of the leadership of four or five people who saw what was happening in the world and who said we will go all in with the resources we have with the influence we have, we will go all in and cures was crazy.
By doing this they changed the course of world events Utica World War II, it wouldn't have ended with the US and the United Kingdom's winning if they didn't have these planes they didn't have the tanks if they didn't have the ammunition. It was a wartime effort to go all in. And here's what I want to challenge us with that we live in such a time when a small group of people. The American church is not the whole church, but we are the wealthiest church in world history could turn the course of world events. If we choose to go all in. And the question for us may be the world's too big to think about the how about changing our kids lives at least is will we go all in and our faith will we be Christians who understand what's happening and where it's leading so we can respond with a stronger faith than all in faith are listening to Living on the Edge with your finger.
John Dickerson is bitter guest teacher for this program.
Where will this lead from his series of nations trip will be here with us in just a minute to share his application for this message.
As you look around you filled with anxiety or the instability and chaos overwhelming, if you're looking for tangible hope not only for yourself but for the future of our society.
This series is for you. John explains where we can find true hope in the world spinning out of control.
Matthew chapter 12 says in his name, the nations will put their hope stay with us as we discover what that means and how we can find encouragement in these trying times for limited time the resources for hope of nations are discounted for ordering and pricing details, visit LivingontheEdge.org Listeners tap special offers.
No, here's a quick word from trip. Thanks Dave. I want to talk to those of you who partner with us financially.
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Just give us a call a 8883336003, or if you prefer to give online you can donate securely by going to LivingontheEdge.org. Your generosity is greatly appreciated as we close today's program I have to tell you I love the challenge that John gave us. What I really heard them say was you know if people like Henry Ford and others who transform their plants to build planes and tanks to rescue the world from oppression. Shouldn't we could the church respond in the same way or the picture the head of the lighthouse lifesaving club being the church that the difference that we can make instead of being fearful instead of fighting instead of blaming instead of accusing making a difference. I love the motto of the Coast Guard semper Parada's meaning always prepared. I think that's the calling of the church. Right now I don't know the future of America. I believe there is hope for nations, but I think that hope has to come through us and it has to come through us in ways like never before and we have to be prepared. It starts in our own homes. Then it starts in our churches. We don't want to simply circle the wagons and protect ourselves from the evil that happens, we need to be difference makers. We are by definition salt light you ordinary person getting up going to work you fixing things around the house making dinner here leading a corporate office. There you living loving caring day by day saturated with God's word prayerful independent connected to other people in the local community saying we are going to bring the reality of Jesus's love and his truth to bear in everything we say and everything we do. That will change the world. It's the way it's always happened and is no different now. Fear not, he's with you before we go. Let me remind you of an easy way to listen to or extended teaching podcast here chip anytime on Amazon's Alexa echo and echo.just say Alexa open Living on the Edge and you'll hear that these extended teaching any time you want to go for Jeff and everyone here.
This is the same. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge