A message for Akron Alliance Fellowship Church for Sunday, March 13, 2022.
For audio of the “Live in Church” version, select here.
With the recent events regarding Russia and Ukraine, there has been a recent uptick in discussion pertaining to the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, and the speculation as to where we are in the End Times.
Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) recently came out of retirement to publicly state that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “compelled by God” to invade Ukraine as a precursor for a massive End Times invasion of Israel.1 He cited Ezekiel 38 as an indicator that what is happening now is the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy. While this world event is significant, I personally think that comparing what is presently taking place to the reference to Ezekiel 38 is premature, and, unfortunately, Robertson has a history of sharing prophetic messages that have not shown themselves to be accurate. He may indeed be accurate about setting the table for a possible future event, but there is much more that needs to take place here. Pastor Adriel Sanchez of North Park Presbyterian Church in San Diego stated on his corechristianity.com webcast that Ezekiel 38 refers to a coalition of seven nations coming against the people of God. He cautions those who look at Russia/Ukraine and any other events as cataclysmic to not be obsessed with worry and consternation, having a doomsday perspective. It’s not the right approach.2
Pastor Sanchez wants everyone to take comfort because the Lord is in control. He always has been in control. His statement rings true.
Ezekiel 38:16 ESV
You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.
It is indeed important to seek the Lord in times such as these, but we need to recognize, even in the midst of what may ultimately be the fulfillment of prophecy, there is nothing happening where God is not aware or involved.
If anything, we should be encouraged by the opportunities that present themselves about our reason to be encouraged. We need to tell others to not be fearful of things like wars and rumors of wars, or even the threat of World War III. We are to focus instead as to how God will show Himself with power and might to everyone as He promises in Ezekiel 38.
He will demonstrate His hand and show everyone, without a doubt, that He will prevail, and that He is Lord over all. For this, we should be encouraged and ready to speak.
1 Peter 3:15 ESV
…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.
For the believer in Jesus Christ, the indwelling Holy Spirit should always bring us back to a place of comfort and confidence that the Lord is in control.
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Look at these passages, and note the common theme being conveyed in each of them:
Psalm 56:11 ESV
In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
Psalm 118:6 ESV
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
Hebrews 13:6 ESV
So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
There is no need to be fearful about speaking up for Jesus.
‘What can man do to me?’
If we have faith and believe God’s message here, He will embolden you to speak up more and more about Jesus Christ. I mentioned recently that there was a rush on Bibles in the Ukraine to the point that they were sold out. Right now, there is a real, worldwide hunger for God’s Word.
We need to talk more and more about being in a relationship with Jesus Christ, and keep speaking about His goodness—His greatness in this moment and from this day forward.
This is very important because of our current position in the timeline of the End Times. Time is indeed short, and the return of Jesus is imminent.
Matthew 24:42, 25:13 ESV
42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Let’s get in the mindset of talking more and more about Jesus. We share the goodness of Jesus with others because He has been good to us, and we want others to experience the goodness of God’s salvation and eternal life in Jesus Christ.
It is evident today that followers of Jesus Christ have their work cut out for them. The life and times of today’s world present great challenges each day, and it requires everyone who is serious about Jesus Christ to answer the call in the effort to proclaim the gospel to all who need to hear it. Within the midst of Jesus’ command is His assurance that each believer, in facing the world’s challenges, will not be alone.
Matthew 28:18-20 ESV
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The greatest difficulty in a believer’s ability to carry out Jesus’ command is not in the power of Jesus Christ and His working of the Holy Spirit, but rather in a lack of self-confidence of the believer. While the desire to be a testimony of the gospel is there, the world will challenge that testimony at every turn with its own onslaught of opposition. This combination—a lack of confidence, rooted in a lack of faith in God’s abilities coupled with the world’s resistance of the gospel—presents obstacles to stop a believer’s efforts right in their tracks.
Let’s personalize this now—you, the believer, must overcome fear and resistance that prevents the effective proclamation of the gospel to those who need to hear it. For many believers, this is an accurate portrayal of where they are in their spiritual life. The good news is that you can move beyond these fears with the help of the Holy Spirit, but the believer must assume the responsibility of taking the initiative to grow and develop in his or her faith in order to be successful. Remember, God enables every believer in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, but the believer must acknowledge the Spirit’s power in order for Him to work.
In your efforts to communicate the gospel, you should expect setbacks to occur because of opposition, but you remain successful as you edify the name and character of Jesus and devote everything to His glory. Never let one who resists the message of the gospel deter you from keeping up the effort to share with others. The Holy Spirit is always at work as we speak His truth.
You must stay in a close relationship to Jesus in order to recognize growth in your ministry. You and I need to get with Him and stay with Him. We overcome fear and trepidation by relying upon the loving presence of Jesus Christ and the ongoing reassurance and sanctification of the Holy Spirit.
Our closeness starts with the Word of God. He is the living Word.
Psalm 119:104-106 ESV
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.
You must read His Word, investigate it and meditate on it in order to convey His truths to others.
Psalm 1:1-3 ESV
1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
You are to be the messenger of the gospel to others to testify about the great value of God’s Word.
Be the messenger for Jesus that shares God’s truth.
Develop and strengthen your faith in Jesus as you build your relationship with Him. He becomes more important than those things of the world that, at one time, meant something to you.
Galatians 5:16-17 ESV
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Galatians 5:24-25 ESV
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Your growth in Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit, will enable you to speak boldly for Christ at every waking moment. You are able to speak more effectively for Christ because you have comfort in His presence in your life.
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Share Jesus with focus and determination. Share the benefit of growth in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Psalm 34:4-5, 8 ESV
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Jesus Christ is our blessed assurance. Our closeness to Him helps us recognize positive results in life. What are those results? His comfort, His grace, His mercy and His blessings, to name just a few.
Share with others how Jesus has helped you with blessings and also His provision of strength and endurance when you were scuffling. Both testimonies matter because people need to understand that even when bad things happen, Jesus is still there to help.
Be present to reassure others in navigating a very confusing world.
It is also important to share the importance of trusting in Jesus and remaining obedient to His Word. Our speech must convey the love of Jesus Christ.
John 15:9-14 ESV
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.
His commands are worth paying attention to because He tells us what is indeed good for us. Of course, this requires faith, but don’t hesitate in sharing about the love and goodness of Jesus.
When we need a boost of confidence as we share, He is ready to assist as we seek after Him. We need to know in order for us to share what we know.
1 John 5:13-15 ESV
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
In order to effectively share the love and goodness of Jesus Christ, it requires a consistent and persistent series of actions that will help you grow and develop your faith. It is done with:
- A meticulous study of God’s Word with prayer and meditation for understanding through the teaching of the Holy Spirit
- A desire to obey Jesus’ Word because of a growing relationship with Him to promote greater consistency. Our perfection is in Jesus and Jesus alone.
- A boldness to speak and act in a Christlike manner with the ability to share freely without fear and endure any potential persecution.
The more that you learn about Jesus, the more that you will readily share with others about Him. It is a natural progression as you follow His command within the Great Commission.
The world needs to see the faith of every believer in Jesus Christ.
Does someone come to mind that you know that is waiting to hear about something good these days? There’s nothing better than the love and goodness of Jesus.
Pray as you move about and minister to others. As the Spirit leads, share about Jesus.
Keep sharing and don’t stop talking about Jesus!
Copyright © 2012, 2022 Melvin Gaines
1 McKnight, P. (2022, February 28). Retired evangelist Pat Robertson says Putin is fulfilling biblical prophecy. MSN. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/retired-evangelist-pat-robertson-says-putin-is-fulfilling-biblical-prophecy/ar-AAUrMtF
2 Sanchez, A. (2022, February 28). Does Ezekiel 38 prophesy of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Core Christianity. Retrieved March 10, 2022, from https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/episodes/does-ezekiel-38-prophecy-of-russias-invasion-of-ukraine/