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25. The Christian attitude to the future

The Master's Instructions about everyday life. (Matthew 24:1-51).

Many people share deep concerns about the future. Uncertainty, insecurity and fear may well describe the feelings of those outside Christianity. But within the Christian faith there is no need for any such worries.

Jesus spoke of the future in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34). Three times our Lord says: ‘Do not worry.’ He describes the worriers as those ‘of little faith’! This must mean that faith should overcome fear. Let’s see how we can set our faith on course for developing a Christian attitude to the future.

Anchor your faith in the unchanging God

Realise that whatever happens in the future God will be there. He will be

exactly the same as He always has been. God revealed Himself as

unchanging. Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible conclude with

the truth that God is constant and true (Malachi 3:6; Revelation 22:13).

The various writers of the Bible remembered the truth that time had no

effect upon God Himself (Psalm 90:2; Hebrews 13:8). Paul was certainly

an example for us in the way he lived. His letters show us that he

reckoned on this truth as being true! Romans 8:28 says that God works

for our good through everything that happens. Verses 38-39 say that

nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. Paul was convinced

that God had the ability to look after absolutely everything that was

entrusted to Him.

To have an anchor holding firm in the storm brings security.

Anticipate the return of Jesus Christ

As Christians we know the promise of our Lord’s return. Acts 1:11

teaches that the ‘same Jesus’ will come back in the ‘same way’ that He

went into heaven. In the glory of a cloud He was gone before their eyes.

One day in the future He will return out of the mist in His majesty.

We also know the pattern of His return from scriptures like Matthew

24:27 and 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2. He will return instantly and there will be

an immediate knowledge of His presence. One day in the future we will be

delightfully surprised at our Lord’s return.

The Bible also points out the prelude to our Lord’s return. Matthew 24

records Jesus answering a question about the signs of the end of the age.

There will be claim and counterfeit. There will be disaster and

devastation. There will be war. There will be want. Believers will be

persecuted but will preach the gospel all over the world. There will be

wickedness and waywardness. There will be faith, but there will also be

fake. Trouble, turmoil and trial could sum up the events preceding our

Lord’s triumphant return. Yet one sure day in the future we will be

delivered by our Saviour’s return.

Finally, we also see the purpose of his return. Jesus said Himself that He

would come back and take His disciples to be with Him in heaven (John

14:1-3). Revelation 7:15-17 and 21:1-4 speak of God living with men in a

glorious place where all the awful things of this life have been eliminated.

The hosts of heaven and the people of this planet will unite in the worship

of God Almighty. Can you thrill at the thought of this? Do you long to be

living there? One day in the future your Saviour will return with a

personal invitation for you to be with Him in heaven.

Act today with an eye on the future

Not in fear but in faith. Not because you worry about what might happen

but because you know what will happen. Invest in the certainty of

heavenly reward. Those who seek first God’s kingdom will be those who

set foot in God’s kingdom. Those who are righteous in God the Son will be

rewarded by God the Father. ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow’

(Matthew 6:33-34).

Discussion guide for ‘the Christian Attitude to the Future’

1. Why do you think many people are afraid of the future?

2. How could Jesus say to His disciples, “Do not worry ..”, Matthew

6:25, 31, 34? What is the lesson Christians can learn from the

birds and the flowers?

3. How does the fact that God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6; Revelation

22:13) help you to be more confident facing up to the future?

4. What is the simple promise of Acts 1:11? Explain exactly what you

think it means.

5. From Matthew 24 only what does Jesus teach us about the manner

of His second coming? (Do not include things that must happen

before His return).

6. How many times in Matthew 24 does Jesus imply His coming will be

both secret and yet spectacular?

7. Explain what the phrase “neither the present nor the future”

means to you in the context of Romans 8:38-39 and your own life.

8. Consider the main lesson to be drawn from Proverbs 23:17-18 in

the light of this chapter of our book.


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