By Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr
(Sabbath Sermon, Oct. 20, 2012)
Time Ends for Satan and his World
"No condition is permanent" is a fairly popular saying in Ghana. And it’s a truth. There always come a time when time stops for one thing or another on this earth. Someone finishes school or apprenticeship and a period of training is over; somebody dies and a life is gone; a song comes to an end and silence reigns; night falls and a day is gone; the sun rises and a new day dawns. People sleep and wake up and sleep and wake up again. It’s never all sleep nor all wakefulness.
Time always moves on. But not forever. The end of time is decreed and it will happen. The BIG STOP will occur; the STOP people rarely anticipate is about to happen. The music is about to stop–all things are about to end!
And it’s important we sit up and take notice as believers: "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer" (1 Pet. 4:7).
This "all things" do not refer to the things of God which are eternal and mostly invisible (2 Cor. 4:18) but all worldly pursuits, interests, enjoyments and glories. The devil audaciously claims these as his. In his encounter with Christ during His forty-day fast in the wilderness, the devil was at his showiest, as he sought to convince Christ of the greatness of his earthly authority and dominion:
"And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
"And the devil said unto Him, ‘All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it’" (Luke 4:5-6).
As surely as the devil has an end, all the power and glory of his earthly kingdoms will surely grind to a halt:
"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever".
1 Cor. 15:24
"Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power".
The death knell of Satan and his evil worldly kingdoms is tolling, and those who associate with them through indulgence in their lusts will likewise perish:
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
"And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (1 John 2:15-17).
Because man is flesh, it’s easy to fall in love with the world; it’s almost a natural tendency for one to do so. But it comes at the expense of love for the Father in heaven which is antithetical to the "lusts" the world promotes. And the world and its lusts are time-bound; in fact, expiring as I speak, but the doer of God’s will out of love for Him, in rejection of the world’s lusts, is headed for eternal life.
Beloved, ever pondered how empty and futile life is without God and His promised future of eternity?
In a few decades or even years from now, you will age and lose the vigour of youth. You will vacate your space in this life, and your wealth and education and social status will no longer count to you personally. You will be extinct. But only if you didn’t express your love for God through the doing of His will during your lifetime.
Otherwise, you will "pass away" with all worldly things.
In this connection, "all things" could also refer to the negative things Satan brought in when he deceived man to sin–death, sickness, pain, wars, poverty, etc. These will accelerate as the end approaches more and more but will nevertheless pass away. These unfortunate events incidentally double as the prophetic signs of the end (Matt. 24:6-8). The earth is in its final days, and it is in a convulsive plunge to its utter ruin.
The earth has entered a time of heightened prophetic tension. The pains of birth have seized her (Matt. 24:8). While time is running out for the devil and he is in a haste to deceive as many people as possible (Rev. 12:9, 12), the salvation of God’s saints is nearer than ever before (Rom. 13:11)–the time when Christ will come to be glorified in his saints (2 Thess. 1:10).
We have a choice as to which side to belong. If we truly believe that all things satanic are passing away, we will do away with all his ‘values’ as expected of our new status in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). It’s when we exchange his false, evil values for God’s righteous values that we become candidates for the kingdom of God where "all things become new for us" (Rev. 21:5).
This is no time to dither:
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
"For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" (Jam. 1:19-20).
Be Sober and Prayerful
The right attitude to adopt in the face of the steady approach of the end of Satan and his world is sobriety and prayerfulness. : "be sober and watch unto prayer".
"These two terms refer to mental alertness, especially in the area of prayer. The first term is sophroneo. It (and its related forms) refers to calm, sound, stable, and vigorous thinking.
"The second term is nepho (and its related forms), which is literally related to drunkenness, but is
used figuratively of rational, controlled, sound thinking, possibly self-controlled (Free Bible Commentary).
The predominant idea is that of a focused, sound, alert mind attuned to self-control and prayer. It’s a call to keep all besetting fleshly passions under restraint so as to devote oneself to prayer. It’s a call not to give free rein to the mind to wander about, focusing on unnecessary things. The call is to harness our mental faculties to what is godly and spiritual:
"Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,
"But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
"Since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." (1 Pet. 1:13-16 ESV).
The end of all things is near! Holiness in all aspects of our lives coupled with fervent prayers is required!
The end times are full of temptations and persecution, and prayer is a continual necessity. Salvation is the preserve of only those who endure in the truth to the end (Matt. 24:13). We read in Rom 12:12: "Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer". Otherwise we are doomed as believers. The Master warns us in Luke 21:34-36:
"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
"For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man".
The importance of prayer and holiness cannot be overestimated in this end time. It must be a daily routine, a ceaseless activity! "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17).
Likewise holiness; it’s a never-ending lifestyle provided we are born of Him and abide in Him:
"And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
"If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him" (1 John 2:28-29). Amen!