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Chapter 12

Do you change easily?

 

Most books that offer a better way of life are based on the knowledge and life experience of the writer. The reader is expected to believe that the writer's personal experience can be duplicated in his or her own life. The writer is in effect saying that what he was able to do in his life can be produced in the life of a reader, if that reader does the same things.

This book is vastly different. Although there are a few personal experiencesof the authors' in this book, the book is based on what God says will happen when a person behaves in particular ways. God is the final authority on every matter concerning human affairs and the originator of all history. ( See Chapter 16) so the book is not based on what the author says, but on what God says will happen in the variety of the circumstances of life. All such matters are revealed in the bible; God's story about himself, about Jesus, and the most significant parts of world history.

This is important to know, because any changes you make in your life as a result of reading this book will be based on what God says is right, not on what one insignificant person such as the author might think or believe. It is up to each reader to study what God says to do.

The possibility of change.

Do you change easily? More importantly, do you change easily to suit another person? If we are really honest, wouldn't we all admit that we don't change easily. We might change more easily if it is something that suits us, but to suit someone else; that's a different question.

My experience of change in people, is that unless it is a change that suits them, then they don't find change that easy. Often, changes have to be forced on a person by the circumstances of life. In other words, the person having to change needs to see that there is no other way. For example, if an athlete wants to make world standard, then he has to avoid alcohol and late nights, otherwise he may never make it.

Sometimes however, people can change just by listening to the benefits of the change. They just make a rational decision based on what they have been told. Paul, who you have met in Chapter 5, was one who was able to decide to make a decision to follow Jesus Christ, almost entirely on the basis of simple explanations of Christianity, similar to those in this book. Others are quite insensitive to spiritual things and it takes a major trauma for them to consider any change. I was one of those.

Changes for you?

Any changes you might consider making as a result of reading this book might finally be a matter of using your own will. If you want the benefit of the changes that are possible by knowing Christ, then the use of your willpower might be a part of making that change. Perhaps look at Chapter 24 if you need help in that regard.
A major change to come.

Sometimes changes come upon us and we are forced to adapt to them. One current world example is the change that is coming upon Hong Kong in 1997. At that time Hong Kong will cease to become a colony and will again be ruled by China. Many of the residents of Hong Kong do not want to be ruled by China and are already making arrangements to live somewhere else. They are being obliged to make a decision about a change, even though they do not wish to even think about it, let alone do something. ( When considering God, it's like that for us sometimes) people in Hong Kong are being forced to change, simply because of something that is going to happen, something decided by someone else, which is outside of their own ability to control or influence.

The first coming of Christ.

The first coming of Christ almost 2000 years ago was initially seen and heard about only by those in the then known world, primarily in the powerful roman empire. The first coming of Christ was basically for him to tell the world how to live, for him to die on the cross to pay the debt for the sins of mankind, then to be resurrected and return to heaven. Also, whilst he was here he made many promises about the future, including the spirit of God being given to his disciples, who were then to teach others.

Nevertheless, it was a very big change and much of the world's population has not even yet adapted to and accepted the changes he brought. Since these events took place about 29 A.D., 1966 years have passed for man to change. And many have! However, Christ was still considered very important in world history, so much so that our calendar is based on the date of his birth. Our Christmas and easter celebrations are based on major events in the life of Jesus. The world acknowledges the seasons of his life, but yet ignores him and what he means to all people, both now and in the future.

The second coming of Christ.

Did you know that Christ is coming again? The second coming of Christ will invoke the biggest change the world has ever seen. Although it will be very spectacular, that will not be its most important feature. The reasons for the second coming are different from his first coming and the events preceding and following the return are vastly different.

Most Christians agree that Christ's return is in two stages. Some of these important features of these stages are:

Stage one

  • The major feature of this stage will be the taking ( by Christ ) of all true believers off this earth into the safety of heaven. He will take both dead and alive. Unbelievers will remain on earth to experience seven years of the worst tribulation the world has ever seen.

Stage two

  • When Christ returns he will subdue the evil forces that have ruled over the earth, the final battle being at Armageddon in Israel. During this time much of the earth's population will perish.
  • When Christ returns to earth he will rule over the whole earth for 1000 years. All persons and authority will be subject to him. All people who died having accepted Christ before their death will return with him to earth. .
  • Those people who have not believed in Christ and lived for him, will eventually be raised to life, judged, and then be cast into hell forever.

Would God really do all these things?

The telling of these things will no doubt surprise many readers. Any thoughts about an end to the world as we know it and the prospects of an after-life are little more than party jokes or smart cartoons to many people. This is because it has been the job of Satan, who can have influence over our minds, to hide these things from men and women throughout the history of time.

However, all these things are true, because they appear in the bible as prophetic events. And Bible history shows that all prophecy eventuates at the right time. Events that have been forecast by God always come about. There are no exceptions. Chapter 16 tells about prophecy and the final aspects of world history. What you need to know now, is that it is all a part of God's plan to redeem man from the sin that began with Adam and Eve. It is his way of rescuing man from the sin that has ruined him and is destroying the earth.

When will all this happen?

The Bible does not tell us when these momentous events will happen, although it give us many clues as to the state the world when he is about to come. However, it does tell us to be ready for that time, to be prepared for the coming of Jesus. Jesus has said that he will come as a thief in the night, indicating that there will be no warning. All that we have to know is that he is coming and we have to be ready. However, we are fortunate, as God has told us what to do to get ready.

God has a plan for all believers in that he has revealed the way of salvation, by each person coming to believe in Jesus. As you now know you can see how to do that by reading and acting on Chapter 25 of this book.

Are there any signs of this happening soon?

In Christian bookshops there are many books on this subject, many of them disturbing and misleading. Take care with the more dramatic of these as they could cause you unnecessary anxiety. Bible prophecy about the timing and events surrounding the second coming of Christ is much debated. However, there are no arguments that he is coming and that we have to be prepared. That is the message of this chapter.

However, there are some events occurring that are those described in scripture as occurring in the last days. Paul writing to timothy said:

"There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God... ( 2 Timothy 3: 1-4.)

This is a prophecy that the apostle paul wrote about 1930 years ago. Is it not a rather apt description of the world today?

What do all these things mean for us?

It means change! It means we take one of two alternatives. Either we accept that what the bible says is true and do what God wants us to do, or we will be liable to face the incredible consequences of what the bible says will happen to unbelievers and to the earth. And if you have been thinking that you may be dead and buried by the time all this happens, then there is a catch in that too.

Yes, you may miss the troubled times ahead, but no one can miss out on the judgement of God that will eventually come. This is because although your body may be in the grave, it will be resurrected by the power of God and available for judgement, for whatever time he sets for those events.

That's a pretty good reason to think about changing to the way suggested by God. He wants all people to come to him to be saved. See Chapter 21 for reasons why unbelievers cannot go to heaven. People have been known to change and become believers in Christ for these reasons alone. Then of course, they have all the benefits of living with the support of Christ whilst they are on this earth. It's a chance no one should miss!

What this chapter has said.

  1. The changes suggested in this book are those indicated and required by God and are not merely those of the author.
  2. Sometimes, change is difficult and persuasion is needed.
  3. The reasons for the first coming of Christ to earth were far different from those of the second coming.
  4. The second coming of Christ will herald the end of the world as we know it. Believers and non-believers will receive different treatment.
  5. We do not know when these things will happen. Our job is to be ready, whenever it is, even if it is tomorrow.
  6. World conditions right now fit descriptions of the end times described in the Bible.
  7. The best advice is to follow the instruction of Jesus and become a believer. See Chapter 25 for details.