3 Reasons Why Many Pastors Fail to Provide Lasting Hope
comfort the faithful. Many of them, however, failed to offer any real encouragement to me because they ignored or missed the prophetic context of the day in which we live.
I heard one pastor assure his online audience that life would someday return to normal. He later revealed that he did not believe in a literal tribulation or millennium, just a resurrection of believers in the distant future. His attempt at comforting my troubled soul disappeared in an instant. His message did not help at all the next morning when I awoke to more troubling news.
Another pastor sought to encourage his church with a message on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, but he did not mention the rapture. He read verse 17, but immediately contradicted its words by stating that all believers would eventually die. His attempt at encouragement fell flat, to say the least.
Besides the normal prophecy speakers that I listen to, I have only heard one pastor exclaim that our hope consisted solely in Jesus’ imminent return for us. I almost began cheering when I heard that.
By failing to mention the rapture and the tribulation that looms in our future, many pastors today repeat the error of the false prophets in Jeremiah’s day, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, / saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ / when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14). Because these prophets rejected God’s warning of the threat posed by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, they offered superficial help and a vain hope of peace.
Today’s popular messages of comfort ignore what the Bible says is coming and thus leave believers uniformed of what’s at stake for them in the days ahead.
Why do many popular encouraging sermons fail to provide lasting hope?
- They Fail to Recognize the Time in Which We Live
Many pastors today either refuse to look or remain blind to the prophetic signs that abound all around them. As a result, their messages lack substance because they fail to recognize that we live in the last moments of human history as we know it.
Two Bible passages come to my mind. The first is Matthew 16:1-3 that records Jesus’ words regarding the blindness of the Pharisees to the signs of the times. They correctly interpreted weather patterns in the sky, but missed all the indicators that their Messiah stood in their presence.
Many excel at preaching about how Jesus fulfilled prophecy during His first coming, but then tell us the prophetic texts associated with the end times are just symbols of greater truths that only they can understand and interpret for us. Just like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, they remain blind to the signs of Jesus’ Second Coming that are happening before their eyes.
The second passage is Matthew 24:45-51, which is Jesus’ parable about “the faithful and wise servant” who demonstrates watchfulness by serving his or her master right up until his return. The words that always leap off the page for me come at the end of verse 45 where Jesus praises the faithful servant for giving the members of His “household . . . their food at the proper time.”
Is this not now the “proper time” to be talking about the multitude of signs that point to the rapidly approaching tribulation? Is this not the time to be proclaiming the Lord’s return for His church that happens before it? Yes, it is.
We live in a day unlike any other. Deception abounds in a world headed for a Marxist new world order. The world economy teeters on the brink of collapse, and with it the greatest depression ever in the history of the world. This crisis has already added four trillion dollars to the already huge national debt in the U.S., taking us ever so close to the brink of economic disaster.
Believers need to know how their daily drama connects to what the Bible says is coming in the near future and why it matters.
- They Fail to Acknowledge the Approaching Tribulation
Because many teachers today view the book of Revelation as allegory, they do not acknowledge the reality of the rapidly approaching tribulation. Other pastors seem afraid to talk about it or the rapture. All and all, they assume the COVID-19 dilemma is temporary and will soon end just like all other crises of the past. They see no need to rock the boat by talking about God’s judgment or the day of the Lord.
Jeremiah proclaimed a highly unpopular message of doom to the people of Judah. He warned that Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians would soon capture Jerusalem and take the people captive for seventy years. His warnings came true during his lifetime when the Chaldeans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and took many captives back to Babylon.
How did the other prophets of Jeremiah’s day respond to his message? “They have spoken falsely of the LORD / and have said, ‘He will do nothing; / no disaster will come upon us, / nor shall we see sword or famine’” (Jer. 5:12). Not only did these false prophets fail to warn the people, they contradicted the word of the Lord that came through His true prophet.
The approach of the tribulation is critical to understanding the response of the world leaders to COVID-19. The world government that will spring to life during the tribulation is rapidly taking shape before our eyes. In the United States, many governors are testing the willingness of the people to give up their rights for the “greater good” and finding that many are quite willing do so. They are preparing people for the coming new world order.
- They Fail to Proclaim the Imminent Hope of the Saints
Perhaps the most frustrating missing piece of today’s popular messages of comfort is their failure to inform believers about their immediate hope. Instead, they assume we will all die only, with the Lord raising us from the dead in the far-distant future. I have heard this many times lately from pastors who profess to believe the Bible.
This contradicts the words of 1 Corinthians 15:51 and that of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, which states, “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” Perhaps such a distant hope may encourage some Christians, but it still leaves them uniformed about what Scripture says is their immediate hope: the rapture of the church.
In Philippians 3:20-21, the apostle Paul held out the rapture as the immediate expectation of the saints, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” The Greek word for “await” denotes an eager anticipation or longing for something to happen.
The early church longed for Jesus’ imminent appearing. What has happened since then to change this expectation to a far-distant resurrection of the dead?
I am not saying every believer alive today will live to see the rapture, definitely not. However, I believe it is exceedingly close, and the New Testament teaches us to regard it as imminent.
The response to COVID-19 has already done irreparable damage to our country. Even if things return to normal, the globalists will not forget what they have learned the past few months about controlling people with fear, intimidation, and a willing news media to control the narrative.
I believe that, morally, the United States has reached the point of no return. The Lord is going to judge America at some point in the near future; we just do not know when. The Lord sees the innocent blood that flows unabated on our streets from the abominable abortion mills and hears the anguished cries of children caught up in sex trafficking, which is sadly supported by many powerful politicians and celebrities.
The worship of Satan among the elite in America includes the most revolting and barbaric of practices.
At this point on God’s prophetic calendar, our hope must be focused on Jesus’ imminent return to take us home to the place He’s now preparing for us (John 14:2-3). This is the message that must resonate through YouTube, Facebook, and all the other electronic mediums of our day. (And there are many who do proclaim this precise message!)
I am not saying that God cannot use the popular messages of comfort we hear today. I am sure He does. My point is that we need so much more than what we often hear today. We need pastors who will boldly teach what they know to be true about the rapture and approaching tribulation. Yes, they will face mocking and much abuse for it, but it’s what the faithful in their churches desperately need to hear from them.
My message seems harsh, I know, but now is the time for pastors, teachers, and writers to provide the truths of God’s Word especially designed for this time. According to Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:45, in the day in which we live, this distinguishes one as a “faithful and wise servant” versus one who is not.
Pastors that ignore the rapture, the day of the Lord, and our reign with Christ during the millennium offer fading and superficial help to the wounds that believers incur in today’s COVID-19 world. They unwittingly repeat the error of the spiritual leaders of Jeremiah’s day, “My people are broken—shattered! — / and they put on Band-Aids, / Saying, ‘It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine.’ / But things are not ‘just fine’” (Jer. 6:14, MSG).
As the world speeds toward the tribulation amid pandemics, earthquakes, famines, economic misery, and rumors of war, things are “not just fine.” Apart from the Lord’s imminent return for us, what hope is left for us in a world that appears to be headed for disaster?
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