March 26, 2009

Transformation Through End-time Fervor

2 Timothy 3:1-5

Mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
2 Timothy 3:1


The biggest hand-dug hole in the world—more than a mile across—is in South Africa. It used to be a hill. But one day children at play unearthed an attractive stone that turned out to be one of the largest diamonds in the world. Eager treasure hunters came from everywhere to stake their claim on a square yard of property.

Our awareness of the end times should ignite that kind of fervor. The evils that Paul predicted are happening. Our news vividly describes brutality and violence in individuals and society. We’ve become captivated by money rather than concerned for people, abusive of family members rather than protective of the people we cherish, lovers of pleasure instead of lovers of God.

An ancient chronicle describes the fervor that happened on the last day of the first millennium. As midnight neared, masters and servants embraced. Bitter enemies forgave each other. In St. Peter’s Basilica Pope Sylvester II performed a midnight mass in silence. The worshipers lay face down in godly reverence. When the bell began to ring the midnight hour, many shrieked in fright, but Pope Sylvester raised his hands in blessing and the choir sang with joy, “To God Be the Glory.”

We need this kind of fervor for God. The devil whispers, “There’s no hurry,” but Christians know they need to live each day for the Lord as if it could be their last.

Lord Jesus, use the proclamation that the end is near to tenderize our conscience, to mobilize our will, and to incite acts of righteousness, for your name’s sake. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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