THE END OF ALL THINGS


"The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.  Be hospitable to one another without complaint.  As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" ( Peter 4:7-10, NASB)

Devotion 1 of  10

              

INTRODUCTION

Time is running out!  Divine purpose is being brought to its culmination! Everything is moving toward the time of "the end," when the sovereignty of God will become apparent, and His Son will be confessed by every thing that has breath! Things will not always continue as they are now. Life is to be lived with these things in view. The Word of God is written with this in mind. The giving of the Law, the coming of John the Baptist, the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His present intercession were appointed with these things in perspective.

Were men to believe this, they would seek a Savior. Those who wear His name would more fervently seek for "mercy, and grace to help in the time of need" (Heb 4:16). If men were more conscious of "the end," the world would lose its attractiveness, Scripture would become the object of more earnest inquiry, and preachers of the Gospel would be in heavy demand.

Boiled down to its essence, transgression occurs when men are distracted from a consideration of "the end."  When the present becomes dominant, sin is ready to enter the door! Eve did not eat of the forbidden fruit until the present dominated her thinking. She did not ponder the "end" declared by the Living God, but thought only of the present present advantage and present satisfaction. Her record cannot be ignored! The "here and the now" are enemies of the soul when they are in the forefront. We are "saved by hope," not by experience! It is not what you have NOW that is the most important, but what will remain with you in "THE END!"

I have grown weary of an emphasis on "the here and the now."  It has produced many careers, and purported specialists without number; but it has not made ready a people prepared for the Lord! It is the future that gives relevance to present. "Then" gives meaning to "now." "There" gives significance to "here."

THE END!
The Holy Spirit employs a vocabulary conducive to watchfulness, faithfulness, and readiness. If you will "hear what the Spirit saith to the churches," He will leave you looking toward the future. His analysis of the past always fortifies the need to prepare for the future. His probing of the present is in order that men may cultivate their souls for the future. Take away the future, and there is no reason for the past, or point to the present. It is what is coming that validates and gives meaning to the past and present! As the Spirit declares, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (1 Cor  15:19).

The expression "the end" is a common one in the Word of God. It not only represents an appointed time, but is a focus of revelation. Whatever subject or circumstance is being addressed,  Scripture always speaks in view of "the end." 

A prelude to this type of emphasis was seen in Noah's day.  God revealed to this holy man, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled  with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth" (Gen 6:13,  NRSV). There was going to be an abrupt termination to things as they were; they would be brought to a  grinding halt. The consummation of Israel's bondage in Egypt was also referred to as an "end."  "At the  end of four hundred thirty years, on that very day, all the companies of the LORD went out from the  land of  Egypt" (Ex 12:41, NRSV). In both cases, there was a conclusion of one era occurred, as well as the beginning of another. That is the way God works. What is more, what follows "the end," conclusion is always "better"  for those accepted by God--ALWAYS!

The Psalmist was motivated by a consideration of "the end." "Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end . . . My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the  very end" (Psa 33:33,112). The prophets often announced the conclusion of God's tolerance of  wickedness in His people. One of the most telling expressions of this Divine reaction is iterated by the prophet  Ezekiel. "Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says to the land of Israel: The end! The end has  come upon the four corners of the land. The end is now upon you and I will unleash my anger against  you. The end has come! The end has come! It has roused itself against you. It has come!" (Ezek  7:2-3a, 6, NIV). The Lord told Daniel the words of his book were "closed up and sealed until the time of  the end" (Dan 12:9, NIV). The Lord also told the prophet he would personally be advantaged at "the end." "As for  you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your  allotted inheritance" (Dan 12:13, NIV). The Divine manner is seen in these statements.

Jesus spoke of "the end" repeatedly, uprooting men from the distractions of the present, and  tearing them away from unlawfully clinging to the past. His words are as salient today as they were then.  We will find it to our eternal advantage to give heed to them. "But the one who endures to the end will be  saved . . . the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels . . . so shall it be in the end of  this world . . . And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come . . . lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world .  . . When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but  the end will not come right away." (Matt 10:32b; 13:39,40; 14:14; 28:20; Luke 21:9). You cannot  listen long to Jesus without becoming acutely aware of "THE END."

The Apostles also spoke with "the end" in perspective, a view all too often absent from  contemporary preaching. "He will also strengthen you to the end . . . Then comes the end, when he hands over  the kingdom to God the Father . . . But Christ as a son over His own house; whose house are we, if  we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end . . . For we are made  partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end . . . And we desire  that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end . . .  Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end . . . To everyone who conquers and continues to do my works to the end" (1 Cor 1:8; 15:24; Heb 3:6, 14; 6:11; 1 Pet 1:13; Rev  2:26). 

Faith, by its very nature, anticipates an end--a conclusion. There is an appointed "END" to persecutions and sufferings. The conflict with sin will end. Our earthly probation and orientation  for glory will conclude. Confinement to seeing "through a glass darkly" will terminate, and we will "know  as we are known." Were it not for the anticipation of "the end," life would become intolerable, and we  would "faint" from spiritual exhaustion. Almost without exception, those who despair of life have failed  to contemplate "the end" the eternal destiny to which they have been appointed by the grace of  God. Good teaching is delivered with "the end" in perspective. The godly teacher will not drape the cloth of temporality over his teaching. He will preach and teach with eternity in view, thereby giving his  listeners the advantage.

A theology that does not leave men with an acute awareness of "the end" cannot be from  God! When individuals are left anchored to this world and focusing on life in the body, they have been greatly restricted. It is tragic that such results are often produced in the name of the Lord. The role of  spiritual leaders is to prepare men for "the end," which is inevitable. This does involve the past and  present, but they are not the preeminent considerations. They are always subordinate matters.

PRAYER POINT: Father, in the name of Jesus, grant me grace to always have "the end" in my perspective.

Tomorrow: GOD'S BOUNTIFUL FEAST