As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ is our example and we are to “follow in His steps.” We also believe that we are in the final days of this world. How should we conduct ourselves? What needs to be done? Christ’s example in the last hours of his life provide us with insights that we should apply today. In this podcast, I will identify three things that Christ focused on that are relevant and needful for us to follow in these final days.
Finish the work
The book of John in chapters 13-17 details the conversations that Jesus had with His disciples before His crucifixion. His words provided instruction, comfort, warnings and encouragement. Everything was done so that they “would not fall away” as He said in John 16:1. Instead of focusing on His forthcoming death, Christ focused on finishing Hi work of preparing the disciples.
What an example to us! So often we’re enticed to focus on our own misery or problems. But God wants us to focus on accomplishing what He’s put us here to do—proclaiming the Gospel and living a spiritually restored Word-life.
If Satan can get you to lose your focus, your service to Christ will be incomplete. Always remember: focus on the mission. Nothing else matters.
In John 17:4, just before His arrest, Jesus clearly stated that His work was done. His work of calling, strengthening, and preparing the members of His spiritual body was now complete. But this work had been accomplished by a physical, earthly body seeking out and ministering to other humans (the disciples) who were members of His spiritual body.
Here again we see what we are called to do in these final days. We must be busy:
- Finding the members of Christ’s body who are lost in sin
- Strengthening those members once they’ve been reconciled to God.
Realize, my brothers and sisters, that you were not saved to minister to yourself. According to the Book of Ephesians chapter 4, we are all here to strengthen each other in the faith of God. In fact, in one sense, our very spiritual survival depends on each other. We are called a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5). In your natural home, the beams in the walls are supported by the floor. The walls support the ceiling. The beams in the roof support the roof itself. Everything is supported by the foundation.
Ask yourself: do you actively work to strengthen your brothers and sisters in this Christian faith? Do you participate in church social events which are necessary for strong bonds? How are you inspiring them? Are you bombarding heaven with your prayers? Inquiring about their welfare and working to resolve their problems? Or are you lost in a world of your own?
Relationships are formed by constantly being together–in good and bad times. Bonds are strengthened by constant interaction and broken by isolation. In basic military training, cadets sleep in the same rooms, shower in groups, and even use the toilet without privacy guards between stalls. The lack of individual privacy forges one unit that fights, bleeds, and dies for each other.
For some reason, Christ’s spiritual army struggles with this concept.
We cannot afford to become lost in our own life. This is what our enemy wants. This is his method of “divide and conquer”, the same tool the Roman empire notoriously used to destroy its enemies.
In the final days, Satan purposes to distract believers from strengthening each other by inundating their own life with personal problems and selfish motives. Ultimately the entire church is weakened.
Jesus showed us that we must combat this by deliberately minimizing our own situations and actively engaging with each other in as many physical and spiritual ways as possible
But Jesus didn’t just prepare His disciples; He also prepared Himself for what lay ahead. John relates that Jesus spent much time in prayer, wrestling through until His earthly body was able to endure the trial that lay ahead.
It’s no easy thing to know when you’re going to die. Most of us don’t like to think about our death. In fact, we change the words to songs like “I’ll fly away” so that we sing “I’ll not die, I’ll be raptured by and by.” But Jesus faced His death in the same way He faced life—head-on.
Yes, He struggled with it as any human would. But He focused on getting Himself ready for what lay ahead.
Now, I will say that we live in the closing hours of the world and many of us may indeed be alive for the coming of the Lord. But whether you’re awake or asleep when He comes, my question is this: how are you preparing yourself?
I find it helpful to think about where you are right now. Do you feel perfectly ready to meet Him? Is the Spirit of God, which is Eternal life, burning in your soul? Ireneus, who we consider to be a messenger of God, once wrote:
“The business of the Christian is nothing else but to be ever preparing for death.”
How often Satan gets us focused on so many other things that we don’t realize that our death—and the death of this world—is inching steadily closer heartbeat by heartbeat.
- Things you’ve left unsaid or undone
- Wrongs for which you need to apologize
- Things you want to accomplish before you leave this world
- Debts, wills, other important legal considerations you need to resolve
- Family issues that need to be settled
We may not see this as being self-preparation but, again, the goal is to have nothing unresolved when you are called from this world. We live in a time where nuclear bombs can ignite our drought-ridden planet at any moment. Where death stalks each neighborhood on a regular basis.
Like Jesus, in the final days, work to be prepared for the coming of the Lord. That way, whether He comes for you or comes for us all, you’ll be ready.
Give full testimony
Finally, Jesus gave clear testimony of who He was in the final hours of His life. In Gethsemane, His captors asked for Jesus of Nazareth and He responded by saying “I am He” twice. Before Caiaphas, He identified Himself as the Son of Man. Before Pilate, He identified Himself as the King.
He gave clear witness, or a full testimony, of what He believed. It didn’t matter whether or not they believed. What mattered was that the witness was given. And notice that the testimony He gave with His words was backed up by His life when He rose from the dead on Easter morning.
We’ve been given an opportunity in these last days. In a world of unbelief, we’re called to give full testimony of our faith. Christ commands us to be His witnesses unto the end of the world, unto the end of the age. This is to be spoken by our mouths and backed up by our life. Words alone are not enough. Dedicate your life to fulfilling this calling.
If you do this, God will vindicate you as He did Jesus and raise you up with Him.
Today I identified three aspects of Christ’s ministry in the last days and showed how we are to do the same in the last days of this world. We must:
- Finish the work He’s given us to reach out to those outside the faith while actively strenghtening those within it.
- Prepare ourselves to meet Him
- Give full testimony of what we believe