What are the signs of the end times? There have been people in every generation since Christ’s resurrection claiming to know exactly when Jesus will return. No one has been right yet, however, because Christ will return on God’s timetable, not ours.
Jesus predicted that before his return, many believers would be misled by false teachers claiming to have revelations from God. According to Scripture, the one clear sign of Christ’s return will be his unmistakable appearance in the clouds which will be seen by all people (Mark 13:26; Revelation 1:7).
In other words, you do not have to wonder whether a certain person is the Messiah or whether these are the “end times.” When Jesus returns, you will know beyond a doubt because it will be evident to all true believers.
Beware of groups who claim special knowledge of the last days, because no one knows when that time will be (Mark 13:32). Be cautious about saying, “This is it!” but be bold in your total commitment to have your heart and life ready for Christ’s return.
Caring Enough – (2 Cor. 2:1–4)
Sometime ago David Augsburger wrote an excellent book called Caring Enough to Confront. In it he showed that if we really care about others, we will be willing to confront them when their actions call for it. Paul, who cared enough to confront the Corinthians in his first letter, shows us here just how to go about confronting.
First, he confronted to avoid a greater grief that would otherwise distort their relationship (v. 1). Confronting is a way to keep relationships strong and warm, for things left unmentioned can bring grief.
Second, his goal was not to hurt but to heal (v. 2). Confrontation works only when your motive is to help the other person. Don’t think you can confront in anger or antagonism. Your hostility will come through more strongly than any of your words.
Third, he expected a positive response. It takes a large dose of trust in others to free us to confront. Paul’s trust had solid roots in his faith in God. He knew God was at work in his brothers and sisters. God would use his blunt words to help them and to heal.
Finally, Paul hurt with the Corinthians as he confronted them. He wrote “out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears” (v. 4). Confrontation must grow out of and be an expression of love. You need to hurt along with the person you confront. Your pain will prove your love, and move the other person to respond.
Do you care enough to confront others when they go wrong? If you do, be sure your confrontation is marked by a desire to deepen the relationship, by love, by positive expections—and by personal grief and pain.