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Three Things the Christian Must Do in 2005 - by David Carson

Three Things the Christian Must Do in 2005

World events have underscored the truth that life on this planet is very fragile. Christians need a biblical worldview these days, and they need to be very close to the Lord.

by David Carson

VANCOUVER, BC (1/5/2005)-- I drafted this article just before news of the great earthquake came through. I have been horrified at the tsunami disaster that impacted 11 nations within a few hours of the sudden shift below the ocean near Sumatra. Much prayer is needed for the families suffering shock and grief, also for the relief efforts to provide clean water and control disease. However it underlines one of my main points that life on this planet is very fragile and that the Christian needs to be very close to the Lord Jesus and have a biblical worldview. This quake feels like another birth-pang! There could be more of various types in 2005.

Only the mercy of God is keeping us from His righteous judgements.

Three things

In the Spirit one can be very hopeful about the future as we know that Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, has already made a public humiliation of all the powers of darkness. His kingdom will never end and He is coming again! But as 2005 dawns, humanly speaking, it seems difficult to be optimistic about what the New Year will hold for Canada and the world.

Never has there been such a global awareness of how dangerous the world is. Instant communication through the media tends to cast a fearful shadow over our celebrations and there is no apology for feeling like we are in the last days. I maintain that this is an exciting situation that calls for real Christian maturity. The apostles said that in the last days there would be difficult, dangerous, hard to cope with times (see 1 Timothy 3:1), where mockers or scoffers, would trifle with the Word of God (see Jude 1:18).

In Canada we bask in a privileged lifestyle that is the envy of the world and as Christians we have got used to it. What if this lifestyle was to disappear suddenly? In Revelation 18 there is a remarkable chapter of how Babylon (a great city or system, representing all that is wrong with the world) is suddenly laid waste. The smoke of her burning is watched from a distance by those who mourn a wrecked world economy. In Revelation 18:8 this happens in one day, and in verses 9, 17, 19, the catastrophe happens in only one hour of that one day!

The tragic reality is that there are currently a number of violent scenarios that could instantly bring the world economy to a serious and sudden decline. Only the mercy of God is keeping us from His righteous judgements. Perhaps only the prayer movement is prolonging that mercy. We cry out to God for Him to act at a time when His law is being broken (see Psalm 119:126) not only by secular government but also by parts of the Church. Jude warns of the Church being infiltrated by those who are devoid of the Spirit and are motivated by ungodly passions. God's attitude to this is clear in the example of Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities (see Jude 1:7).

2005 could be a difficult year for many peoples and nations—a time of sorrows and anguish. Jesus likened it also to a time of "birth-pangs," painful but a necessary process of new birth (see Matthew 24:8). For the praying Christian we can be firm in trouble as we know our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed (see Romans 13:11). Whatever our lifestyle or our bank balance, Jude appeals for three things that we could and should be doing, even under pressure.

1. Contend for the Faith (see Jude 1:3)

We have a faith which is declared in both testaments and is non-negotiable. In 1:17 Jude urges that we take the predictions of the apostles very seriously. We are to remember what they taught. In 2005 we can devote ourselves to the Word of God. Buy a one-year Bible and some markers, study and make notes! We need to be equipped to give a biblical view point to those who ask.

2. Build ourselves on our most holy faith (see Jude 1:20)

The call is for maturity. This faith is so wonderful we should allow our experience of the living God to dominate our lives by:

a) Praying in the Holy Spirit (see Jude 1:20)

Seek God's help to devote ourselves to being a channel for the Holy Spirit to pray through us. 2005 has to be a year of prayer for Canada!

b) Keeping ourselves in the love of God (see Jude 1:21)

Being filled with the Spirit will help us to experience the love of God and share this love with others (see Romans 5:5). Cry out to God for a fresh infilling of His Spirit!

c) Having a world view that includes the return of Jesus Christ (see Jude 1:21)

The wonder of eternal life will come from soaking our minds in the Word of God. The return of Jesus Christ will be the culmination of world history. Don't forget that one-year Bible and some markers!

3. Be a bold witness (see Jude 1:21-22)

God wants us to overflow to others. Doubters are to be encouraged and the lost are to be saved through wise outreach. We are to be outward looking with the Gospel, not just defensive. Be involved in Celebration 2005 and touch your community for Christ.

Jude closes by stating that God is glorious beyond words and one day we will stand before Him, unashamed, overwhemed with rejoicing, in the glory of His presence. That fearful shadow of terror has to disappear in the brilliance of Jesus Christ. Romans 5:2 makes it clear that our destiny is to share the glory of God as the Bride, so close to Jesus Christ. So it's all worth it. Whatever happens, we will make ourselves ready in 2005.

David Carson is a Vancouver pastor and director of the prayer ministry, Intercessors For Canada.

Used with permission of the author. Copyright © 2005 Christianity.ca.
Copyright © 2003 The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, All Rights Reserved.

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