Optimistic about the Future

By John Wilson

Why polish brass on a sinking ship? You ever get sick of watching the news and hearing about all the depressing stuff that is happening around us? It seems like in the last 20 years the values and morality of this country have gone down the drain. Not even the pagan Greek or Roman Empires were willing to redefine marriage to include an union between two men. Never in the entire history of mankind has a government legally declared an union between two men a marriage…until now! Marriage is under attack, the Scriptures are under attack, and Christians are under attack whether they know it or not. Unfortunately, some Christians respond to the onslaught by “retreating” from the battle. Some believe the time of the end is near and the current events just add fuel to the belief that this world is “going to hell in a hand basket.” The Christians in this country have had this Dispensational Premillennial view of the future since about the time of the civil war, but what about before the civil war? Do you know that the generation of Christians that founded America held a radically different view of the future? It was called Postmillenialism, which offered an eschatology of hope instead a future of despair. This generation of Pilgrim and Puritan Christians understood that Genesis gives us our purpose in life. Genesis 1:28 says: “God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it.” Isaiah 43:6b-7 goes on to say: “Bring My sons from far away, and My daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone called by My name and created for My glory. I have formed him; indeed, I have made him.” From these two verses, I believe that the Bible is teaching that God created and redeemed us to fill the earth and subdue it, which is why the Mayflower Compact says the Pilgrim’s purpose in establishing a colony was for the Glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom. So the question I have for you is why would God give Adam the “Great Commission” if God knows that the ultimate end of the earth will be an antichrist who is slaughtering every last Christian until those days are cut short by a “rapture” to save the church who are getting slaughtered? Notice how the Bible calls Jesus the last Adam. Jesus came to fulfill what the first Adam could not fulfill…the Great Commission. He tells his disciples that ALL authority has been given to Him and He commands every Christian to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe everything that He has commanded. This is what the Bible teaches the way we are to live our lives. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 says: “since the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ is how we subdue the earth to the glory of God. This means that our marriages, our families, our bank accounts, our desires, and every aspect of our entire lives are built on the foundation called the Word of God. We build on the solid rock and not on the shifting sand. We are to build civilzations…Godly civilizations that pass down the Gospel to the next generation. This is what God has “commissioned” us to do, to build Godly civilizations in every nation, teaching them to obey EVERYTHING that God has commanded. Notice the Bible doesn’t stop with evangelism. Not that evangelism is not important (it most definitely is), but we are not supposed to stop discipling someone just because they confess Christ as Savior and Lord. We are to teach them to observe everything that the Lord has commanded, also. This type of multi-generational mission work requires the missionary to spend his/her life in that foreign context which is what people like William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, and Lottie Moon did.
How can a pessimistic outlook on the plan of God and future of the world hinder our ability to reach the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Bible gives us an example of the dangers of retreating when God guarantees our success. Just look at the events at Kadesh Barnea, a place where the Israelites decided their fear of giants in the Promise Land was greater than their fear of a Holy God who delivered them out of Egypt. Instead of having confidence in the promises of God, they retreated, and an entire generation was left to die in the wilderness. Well, God has given His church a Promise Land. Romans 4:13 says: “For the promise to Abraham or to his descendents that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.” In Jesus’ sermon on the Mount, He says the Meek shall inherit the EARTH. Revelation shows us that every tongue, every tribe, every nation and every language are around the throne of God. The Great Commission tells us not to make disciples IN all nations but disciples OF all nations, literally saying make the nations my disciples. Jesus’ parables also taught this idea. The Kingdom of God, which was inaugurated in the first century during the Roman Empire (see Daniel 2), will grow and grow until it fills the whole earth (mustard seed, leaven). I believe Jesus is ruling right now at the right hand of the Father. When the Bible teaches that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father what that means is that He has been crowned King. All authority has been given to Him which is why Revelation 1:7 says that Jesus is the ruler of the Kings of the earth to the extent where the king’s heart is like a stream in His hand and He turns it whichever way He wants (Proverbs 21:1). The question we need to ask ourselves is how do we think Jesus is reigning as King? Do we think he is doing a good job? Could it be the current events we see are judgments passed down from a great King because of the wickedness of a nation who has turned away from its roots? The overwhelming majority of American Christians in 1776 were Postmillennialists who believed that our duty as Christians was to change cultures into Godly civilizations. Like Joshua and Caleb, they believed that it was their commission or duty to not retreat but rather fight for the Promise Land. I love Psalm 138:4, it says: “All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord, When they hear the words of Your mouth.” Habakkuk 2:13-14 says: “Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the peoples labor to feed the fire and nations weary themselves in vain? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” We should be optimistic about the future, we may suffer for a night, but joy comes in the morning! Jesus tells Peter that on this boulder I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Jesus is saying the church should have an offensive mindset, they are the aggressor…and the gates of hell will not prevail! This is why God’s favorite Bible verse (the most quoted OT verse in the NT) is found in Psalm 110:1 which says: “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand UNTIL I make your enemies your footstool.” Don’t waste your life…spend it advancing the Kingdom of God by the power of the Holy Spirit!

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