Words are flying these days about proximity of the end. Talk of rapture and judgement has ramped up again.
When people ask me about the end times, I usually shrug my shoulders.
In His last days in flesh and bone the boys asked Jesus about the end.
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?"
He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." - Acts 1:6-8 NASB
During His ministry, Jesus made some statements about His second coming, but His discourse prepared them for a life of persecution and tribulation. It didn’t give them any sense of when.
In the passage above—apparently at the moment of His ascension—His language gives them a clear life priority.
Disciples: Jesus, when do we get exalted and reign with You in Your kingdom?
Jesus: Don’t look for political power, but get filled with the Holy Spirit who will give you the power to be a witness.
This word witness in the Greek is martus where we get our word martyr. When Jesus used the word witness, it had the meaning you would expect. Its original meaning was like we would use it in a court room setting, someone who saw something—some one who can give testimony to what they have seen, heard, or know.
But because so many witnesses gave their lives because of their witness the word itself took on the meaning of one who would lay down their life for the truth they carry.
This power to lay down your own life for the sake of your loved ones—your neighbors—your enemies—your Lord—is the very power promised by Jesus and poured out at Pentecost.
Jesus diverted the disciples' attention from the end times to their present calling.
Don’t worry about tomorrow—pray for the power to lay down your life today. [Tweet this]
Keith Green put it this way:
Thank you, O my Father, for giving us Your son, and leaving Your Spirit till the work on earth is done.
from, There is a Redeemer, Keith Green - 1982
There’s a sermon that will get a cold, silent reception.
But I pray we hear it.
Walk in His presence today.