Dear Brethren,

What are the challenges facing us in these last days?  Jesus Christ spoke of a time of global turbulence such as this world has never known – a time when:

“Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.”  (Luke 21:26)

From all indications, it appears that we are rapidly approaching that time.  There was a time when God’s blessings were still being poured out bountifully upon us – but no more.  The “good old days” are gone and the evil day is coming upon us.

There are external challenges over which we in God’s Church have little or no control.  Things like: Inadequate border security,  unemployment, Quantative Easing, antibiotic resistant diseases, the Arab Spring, increasing religious deception, high divorce rates with family values being eroded, weather extremes, Genetically Modified foods, a President who despises the spirit of America, destructive Supreme Court decisions, fatherless children, crime, and the list goes on and on.  These challenges are bringing America down.  Think about this:

Every major societal function is in imminent danger of breakdown and failure.  Government, education, military, health, agriculture, manufacturing, finance, religion and so forth… are all in imminent danger of collapse.  We are going through these challenges just as our forefathers the ancient Israelites did.  God calls all these afflictions “plagues” that will consume us.

“If ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.”  (Leviticus 26:21)

A majority of Americans are not concerned one iota that these things are bringing America down.  On the other hand:

There are internal challenges that we each are also fighting against that are of a spiritual nature.  Some of these challenges are: Vanity; Greed; Hate; Lust; Pride; Alcohol; Bad Temper; Gambling; Covetousness; False Representations; Pride; Selfishness…  We have to examine ourselves frequently on all these issues – and more.

And then there are very serious subtle challenges facing the membership of God’s Church.

Idolatry:  Do we realize that there is much idolatry within the greater churches of God.  Anytime that we do not put God first – anytime that we are not looking directly to God in everything – we are guilty of idolatry.

Reconciliation:  There is a terrible lack of reconciliation in the greater Church of God – especially among the ministry.  They do not seek to reconcile with those brethren whom they have treated harshly.  We all have those brethren with whom reconciliation is called for.

Not Discerning Who is in the Lord’s Body:  There are many brethren in scattered groups who are our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Do we recognize all those who are led by God’s Spirit?

“He that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's Body.”  (1 Corinthians 11:29)

Not Laying Down our Lives as we must:  Laying Down our Lives for one another and for God’s Truth are salvational requirements.  You might say, “Surely, Jesus does not expect us to literally be willing to die for one another” – but He does.  Unless we learn to lay our lives down for the brethren, just as Jesus did for us, we will not have a part in the first resurrection.  Jesus is commanding that we lay down our lives just as He laid down His life.

Our greatest challenge right now is to help others into the Kingdom of God.

New Age philosophies as a challenge:  There are those in God’s Church who are watering down the Doctrine of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-2), and teaching the brethren the heretical philosophy of just being happy, having fun, and being successful.

Do not treat these subtle challenges lightly – because our salvation rests upon a right resolution of these matters.  Make your own list of “spiritual challenges.”

Brethren, we have no choice but to overcome the challenges that confront us.  Jesus has made numerous remarkable promises, to him that overcomes:

“Will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

“Shall not be hurt of the second death.

“Will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written.

“And keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.

“The same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

“Will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God…” 

(Revelation 2:7, 2:11, 2:17, 2:26, 3:5, and 3:12)


Sermon:  "Challenges"