What’s Important Now

Sebastian Gruner

“Let brotherly love continue” (Heb 13:1). An appeal.

The old year is behind us, and we’re now nearly halfway through a new one. What’s so remarkable about that? Under normal circumstances, nothing. But what’s normal, anyway? The last year was certainly everything but. It will go down in history as a fateful year. In spite of divergent assessments of the events, at least everyone can agree on that.

But what does that mean for us as Christians? Believers cannot seriously say, “Whatever’s going on in the world has nothing to do with us. We’re keeping out of it.” This stance, which people naturally attempt to justify with Bible verses, has long been the consensus in certain uber-pious circles. But it seems to be wavering at the moment. I myself had a similar mindset about ten years ago, and had to amend it. To be clear: I’m not at all talking about ideas and utopias that require Christians to transform the world for the better. Indeed, that’s not our mission.

However, the current situation shows that we can’t stay out of it all. Very practical questions that demand answers are arising for church life. Can we continue to meet as a body? How many can come? Should reservations be required? Can we sing together? How much influence is the government permitted to exert on the church of Jesus? What is legal? And, most importantly, when does Acts 5:29 apply?

Churches have answered these questions very differently, and drew their conclusions accordingly. That’s not something that should be assessed at this point. Every local congregation stands or falls before its Lord. 

Unfortunately, there were also divisions as a result. However, an honest, fraternal debate within circles, while being true to the Bible, is inevitable. I also believe that we will have to deal with such questions more often in the future.

These preliminary remarks were necessary, if unpleasant. But the title of the article is “What’s Important Now.” So, let’s get down to business.

I’m convinced that end-time developments have rapidly gained momentum, and I’d like to mention a few points that are particularly important this year (and, of course, beyond). These points are neither exhaustive nor sensational. They are absolute basics, and should help keep the essentials in view.

Faithfulness: In 1 Corinthians 4:2, it says that a steward is required to be found faithful. Faithfulness starts in the small things. It includes, for example, attending church gatherings regularly. The coronavirus has shown us that it’s hardly a problem for some Christians to forego church services, or go without seeing their fellow believers for a long time. Naturally, online sermons can be a good option for a sick brother or sister. But a livestream is no permanent replacement for a church or home fellowship. Fellowship is one of the four pillars of every church (Acts 2:42). 

Faithfulness is also shown through persistent prayer. It was often faithful, frail, and inconspicuous dear mothers (including the mothers of well-known men of God) who brought about many blessings in the kingdom of God through their prayers.

Wisdom: The Bible teaches that we should be “wise as serpents” (Matt 10:16). We must not walk into traps. Therefore, we should also be well-informed about the current situation,­ in order to avoid unnecessary mistakes. In addition to wise decisions and procedures, vigilance is also important. We need to be particularly careful regarding our tongues (James 3). A wise attitude also includes knowing that we shouldn’t expect much from an ungodly state. Ultimately, our wisdom is a person, namely the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:24, 30).

Patience: This is so often difficult, but so necessary! A word seldom used today is “endure.” Many biblical passages even speak of a “patient endurance” (Rom 8:25; 2 Cor 6:4; Col 1:11; Heb 10:36; Rev 2:2, etc.). As Christians, we must simply endure certain situations. We know our Lord is returning soon. The wait will come to an end and be rewarded.

Love: In His end-time discourse, Jesus says that before His return, love will grow cold in many (Matt 24:12). By this he’s not primarily referring to the world, but love among believers. This is very sad because, according to Colossians 3:14, love is the bond of perfection. I often notice that I’m in danger of letting brotherly love grow cold. To prevent this from happening, we must always go back to the source: the Lord Jesus. When we’re connected with Him, we can love Him as well as those around us.

Midnight Call - 05/2021

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