In 2 Timothy 3:1-4, Paul described the last days as “perilous times...” People will be lovers of themselves and money, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful and unholy...lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but rejecting the power of God.
The Greek word for “perilous” is “chalepos,” which means to “oppress, annoy, hard. A) hard to do, to take, to approach B) hard to bear, troublesome, dangerous: harsh, fierce, savage...” Interestingly, the only other place this word is used is in Matt 8:28, where it described two demon-possessed men in Gadarenes who were “exceedingly fierce” (NKJV) or “so violent that no one could go through that area” (NLT).
The recent riots and violence on the streets and the profanity and insults spewed out across Facebook and Twitter that followed the presidental election not only revealed how divided our nation is, but also reminds us of the spiritual battle that is going on for the soul of our nation. I believe that same “exceedingly fierce” spirit that possessed the two men in the land of the Gadarenes is the same spirit of violence behind much of the riots, disruption and hate we are witnessing in our society today.
What we are witnessing around the world today can be best described in the novel, “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. The novel opens as, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.”
For those in the world without Christ, this is the worst of times. The hopelessness, fear, and despair cover them like a blanket of deep darkness. But for those who have hope in Christ, this is the best of times because Jesus is the light of the world. And those who follow Him do not walk in darkness because they have the light that leads to life. (John 8:12)
This is not a time for the church to sit back and watch the world fall apart. On the contrary, this is a time for the church to arise and shine. Jesus told His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The darker the world gets, the brighter the church shines!
Isaiah 60:1-2 says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.”
For this reason, I am blessed to share with you our theme for this year: CHOSEN for His Glory!
The reason it’s the best of times for the church is because, we are God’s chosen generation, His royal priesthood, His holy nation. We were once not a people but are now the people of God, who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light to proclaim the praise of God.
Jesus told His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit.” We are His special people not because of who we are, but because of whose we are - His chosen ones!
We are destined for greatness not because of our choosing, but because of Him who chose us before the foundation of the world. In Eph 1:4-6 Paul writes, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace…”
2017 will be a great year, because God has chosen the Hawaii District for His glory and to declare His praise in the islands and the world.
“Let them give glory to the Lord and proclaim His praise in the islands.” Isa. 42:12.
Chosen for His Glory!