Monday, December 24, 2012

The Christian Handbook, Part V - Preparing for the Lord's Return


This is Part 6 of 7 in a series about the Didache, a very early Christian book written to serve as a handbook introducing the faith to new Christians. It serves as a great overview or orientation manual on Christianity.

Click here to read the entire series.


Preparing for the Second Coming: The Didache, Chapter 16

The Didache closes with a short section reminding us to be prepared for the return of Christ. Be diligent not to avoid living a Christian lifestyle, for it is good for you. Gather with other Christians frequently and do things together which help you achieve the Way of Life and avoid the Way of Death.

Be careful of false teaching—the closer we get to the End Times, the more people will try and distract you from the simplicity of the Gospel and the Way of Life. They will enable lawlessness and hatefulness and corruption and betrayals to increase. They will do mighty works but they are false prophets seeking to destroy you.

After this the fire of trial will come upon the Earth, and many will fail. Those who endure and are proved loyal to the faith will be saved from the curse.

The signs before the Lord returns are the outspreading in heaven, the sound of the trumpet, and the resurrection of the dead. The Lord will return after that time.

This is the conclusion of the Didache.

It is a beautiful text, showing a picture of a simple, Gospel-centered, holy, loving church. I’m not even sure if there are churches like that anymore, certainly in America. We are a culture of works-based, cultural Christianity. We care about the “war on Christmas” and politics and money and looking like “God-fearing patriotic Americans.” Yet America has become our religion, rather than the Christ. And the same consumerism and pride and greed which permeates America has influenced our churches, as more and more embrace a “business leadership” approach into their belief system.

The churches which followed the Didache manual—and most every early church did—were far, far different. I would love for us to return to that kind of church one day.

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