Just Before Christ Returns
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that before the coming of our Lord there would come a failing away first (2Thess. 2:3) and to Timothy he stated that evil men and imposters would wax worse and worse, and that there would be perilous times in these last days. (2Tim. 2:1-13.) It will be noticed in the Scriptures that the apostasy is not concerning education, or fine churches, or able ministers, or large congregations, or progress of intellectual and material prosperity; but the visible breaking down that is foretold of the visible church is on faith, and a denial of the power of God in Holy Ghost experience. There is at present well-nigh a universal landslide in the visible church towards higher criticism, which is a lower infidelism and a denial of the supernatural working of God in regeneration, definite answers to prayer, and the revelation of divine things to the soul by the Holy Spirit, which makes up the religion of the apostles and their true successors.
We are then to expect great deceptions and delusions, deceiving if it were possible, the very elect.
We may also expect great advances in the "Form of Godliness" in the last days. Faith will not become low through worldliness and the denial of Scriptures only, but through the remarkable imitative faiths which will work in the deceptive power. A pastor says: "These movements will become an unseen influence in the air around us; an atmosphere of Godlessness, peopled with evil spirits, and heavy with the depression of hell. These evil spirits, ill do their utmost to injure, mislead, confuse, and depress the children of the Lord. Our bodies will be affected; it will press in on our minds and becloud our souls. All kinds of strange feelings and new and peculiar trials will come to us. A surprising lack of desire and energy Godward, lethargy of soul, an alarming desire for forbidden things and a peculiar delight and fascination in any of the world's pleasures we may taste. It will be difficult to preach the Word in liberty and power; it will be difficult to give attention to the Word when it is preached; it will be very difficult to get down to real earnest and continued prayer. This is the atmosphere in which we must battle as the days darken around us. Oh! Let us be strong in the Lord! Satan will no doubt bring a mysterious power to bear on our minds and wills, which will make it exceedingly difficult to walk closely with God, and very easy to live in the flesh. We will be amazed at the power he can use against us. It will become very hard to serve the God faithfully and to pray earnestly. It will seem as if everything without us, and almost everything within us, has conspired to keep us from following Christ all the way, and to induce us to compromise; we will be surrounded by a worldly atmosphere that will draw us away from God, that will render prayer half-hearted and that will deaden our spiritual senses to that reality of heavenly things, and the glorious presence of the Lord. It will become so easy to slip out of communion with God, and harder than ever to keep the communication open between our souls and Heaven."
Already we feel the beginning of the influence of the inrush of these things upon us. Worldliness in various forms weaves its ever expanding net, with increasing persistency and power, over many congregations. Things are not only allowed, but are unblushingly organized now, which would not have been possible a generation since. The craze for the Drama and the exciting round of pleasure is catered to in connection with many places of worship, the bringing to an end of revivals and the furtherance of the spirit of compromise with doubtful things and associations.
There is a terrible decline of faith and true religion all over the world at this moment. We do not deny that there may be here and there exceptions, but looking at Christendom as a whole it presents a sad picture.
Reviewing these matters, do they not constitute atrumpet call to the church of God to arise, shake herself, get right with God, and seek during the intervening short period, to make the most of this her day of opportunity, before her Lord and Master come to summon her to give an account of her condition and labours before the Judgement Seat of Christ.
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
II Corinthians 6:2
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
"As laborers together with Him." 2 Cor. 6:1
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Background to this tract: In the late 1970's my friend George Rowland, owner of the book store, told me he had read this tract some time before and been greatly impressed with it. He was so impressed that he sought the publisher to buy a great many, only to be told they were taking it out of print. They gave him permission to publish the tract and keep it in print. He then asked that I would keep it going