We Live in Bad Times

      The world is in desperate need of some good news! Tragedies, disappointments, and disasters fill the news headlines everyday! It seems like it will never end but only get worse.
      •     War, genocide, terrorism
      •     Violent crimes
      •     Corrupt politicians
      •      Poverty
      •     Sexual perversion
      •     Exploitation of children
      •     Suicide
      •     Drug addiction
      •     Anxiety, stress, depression
      •     Incurable diseases
      •     Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes
       We live at a time when technology is more advanced than ever before in human history and knowledge is abounding every day, yet, the world continues to spin out of control without any solutions to its problems!
Just as the Bible Predicted
       The bad news we see in the headlines everyday is no surprise to the pages of the Bible. Thousands of years ago, the Bible predicted that the world would get progressively worse and worse until its final end comes.
      The Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples that there would be certain signs and events that would lead to his return and the end of world, as we now know it. 
"And as he [Jesus] sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world ? Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no one deceives you. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences [plagues], and earthquakes in various places."  Matthew 24:3,4, 6-7
      Make no mistake, wars, rumors of wars, genocide, famines, plagues, epidemics, and earthquakes have always been a part of human history. However, the fact is that they have become greater in frequency and magnitude. This is precisely as Jesus said it would be:
"All these events are the beginning of birth pains."  Matthew 24:8
      Jesus described all these events as "birth pains." The birth pains that a pregnant woman has before she actually gives birth are signs that she soon will deliver her child.  As time goes by, the intensity and frequency of the pains increase until the actual birth takes place. This is exactly what is taking place in the world today. Just like birth pains, wars and rumors of wars, famines, plagues, and natural catastrophes have intensified and become more common. 
       Other prophets in the Bible also predicted that the world would not become a better place to live. On the contrary, they foresaw that there would be a widespread moral corruption of the hearts of people. The majority of people would not truly seek God. Instead, they would be "…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God":
"There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."  2 Timothy 3:1-4
Does God Have a Plan?
      According to the Bible, the world that we see and experience today is not the way God made it in the beginning. 
"Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good…"   Genesis 1:31
      Today, we live in an entirely different world from the one God made in the beginning. It has become an evil world filled with pain, suffering, and death; a world that has fallen away from the truth about God; a world of people that have turned away in pride from God’s holy laws and commandments; and a world filled with people that are in rebellion against God.
      God gave man the freedom to go his own way, and that is exactly what man has done. Had God’s way been followed, the world would be entirely different from what it is today. But instead, the majority of people have turned to their own selfish ways. They are not seeking after God’s will for their lives. Although they may be religious, they are only doing what is right in their own eyes. According to the Bible, there is no fear of God in their eyes.
 "Only fools say in their hearts, There is no God. They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; no one does good! The LORD looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if there is even one with real understanding, one who seeks for God. But no, all have turned away from God; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not even one!"    Psalm 14:1-3
"The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them." Psalm 135:15-18
 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."  Romans 3:18
      Today, humans are experiencing the bitter lesson that falsehood and rebellion against God’s way of life can lead only to sorrow, suffering, and death.   God will not allow man’s rebellion to continue forever on the earth. In fact, all the prophets of the Bible wrote about God’s plan of redemption to bring this world back under his authority and rulership; to establish his kingdom on this earth and bring the blessing of everlasting peace among the nations and a government of true righteousness; to bring a quality of life on this earth which can only be described as paradise
      The ultimate plan of God is to bring the earth back to perfection, as it was in the beginning. This is the constant message of the Bible from beginning to end.
"And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever."  Daniel 2:44
"All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For the kingdom is the LORD’s, And he rules over the nations."  Psalm 22:27-28
 The Good News of the Kingdom of God
      There is good news in this dark and troubled world. It is found in the message of Jesus Christ.    He preached the message of GOOD NEWS! According to the Bible, God’s whole plan for mankind and planet earth is centered upon the unique person of Jesus Christ. 
"For by him [Jesus Christ] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."   Colossians 1:16-17
      The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ would have two comings or two appearings on planet earth. When he first entered human history 2,000 years ago, he came to bring a message of hope to this dying world of despair. When Jesus came to earth, he did not attempt to change or improve the conditions of this evil world and alleviate its sufferings. Instead, he brought a message of hope and promise in view of the world to come! Jesus preached about a future world of peace and prosperity in which he alone would rule as King.                 
      Jesus told us that this present world, which is ruled by corrupt and godless men, is not his kingdom.
"Jesus answered, my kingdom is not of this world…"  John 18:36
      The gospel message of Jesus Christ was a message that has its future fulfillment in the world to come! It was a message concerning the future.
      Although the Bible teaches that Christ came as God in the flesh, his anticipated destiny was to be a king.
"…Jesus said, You are right in saying I am king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."   John 18:37
      Jesus is the Christ, the long awaited Messiah King who was predicted by all of God’s holy prophets from the beginning of time. The message he preached concerned a future world government on this earth, which he would rule as King. He called it "the gospel of the kingdom of God." The word "gospel" simply means "good news." For Jesus, the preaching of the "good news" of God’s coming kingdom was his purpose and priority.
"…Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God."  Mark 1:14
"Jesus said to them, I must preach the kingdom of God…because for this purpose I have been sent. Luke 4:43
      In Christ’s first coming, his purpose was to preach and teach about the kingdom of God in order to prepare a special group of people to enter into it when it comes to this earth. It was this group of people with whom Jesus made a covenant and he refers to them as his church. 
      Jesus authenticated his identity and message, not by words alone, but also by doing incredible miracles that no ordinary man had ever done: he healed all sorts of diseases, he made the blind see, the deaf hear, the crippled walk, and he raised the dead. With a single command, he controlled nature, including the weather and the animal kingdom. He exerted effortless authority over powerful demons, which held people in bondage; they obeyed his words and bowed before him
"Jesus traveled throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, preaching everywhere the gospel of the kingdom. And he healed people who had every kind of sickness and disease. News about him spread far beyond the borders of Galilee so that the sick were soon coming to be healed from as far away as Syria. And whatever their illness and pain, or if they were possessed by demons, or were epileptics, or were paralyzed– he healed them all." Matthew 4:23-24
"And the men marveled, saying, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?"   Matthew 8:27
"The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching– and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him."   Mark 1:27
      The authenticity of his miracles and demonstration of his power were never questioned even by his enemies and the greatest critics. All this power proved that he alone was the King of kings who is able to bring real change to this earth. He was the true Anointed One sent by God to deliver this planet from its awful curse of sin and death. 
      Jesus also came for the purpose of showing us what it means to be a true follower of God by his example of humility, obedience, self-denial, suffering, discipline, love, commitment, endurance, and focus on the world to come. His greatest act of obedience and love was demonstrated by his self-sacrificing death on the cross.
"Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."   Philippians 2:8
      In his first coming, the enemies of Jesus crucified him on a cross just outside the city gates of Jerusalem. His death was voluntary and according to God’s plan and purpose.
      You see, Jesus was the ONLY sinless man that ever lived, therefore, his death became the perfect covenant sacrifice for the sins of his followers.
"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins."    Matthew 1:21
"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.   Matthew 26:28
"So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many…"  Hebrews 9:28
"But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God."  Hebrews 10:12
      But the most amazing thing surrounding the death of Christ was what took place after three days! After being pronounced dead and then buried in a tomb for three days, Jesus came out alive! He was resurrected from the dead and afterwards showed himself to be alive in the presence of many witnesses.
"So they entered the tomb, and there on the right sat a young man clothed in a white robe. The women were startled, but the angel said, Do not be so surprised. you are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene who was crucified. He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead!Mark 16:5-6
"During the forty days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time and proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive."    Acts 1:3
"…Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
      Death could not hold Jesus in its power, as it has every man since the beginning of time. This is good news for mortal man! Jesus is alive! Jesus, through his resurrection, defeated death! Death, according to the Bible, is the penalty for our sin. 
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  Romans 3:23
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned"   Romans 5:12
    Every man must die because every man has sinned. But Jesus Christ is the first man that has defeated death by his resurrection from the dead. His bodily resurrection was into a new kind of life called immortality, a life that can never die again. 
"Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him."   Romans 6:9
"…Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death  and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."  2 Timothy 1:10
 "…our Lord Jesus Christ…the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality…"  1 Timothy 6:14-16
"I am he who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore…"  Revelation 1:18
       The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the great hope of all his faithful followers because the good news message promises them the same kind of resurrection. When Jesus defeated death in his resurrection, he also defeated death for all those that belong to him.
       All those that have embraced the gospel message of Jesus Christ have the hope of being raised from the dead by Jesus Christ to live and reign with him in his kingdom when he returns to this earth a second time. 
 "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves  will hear His voice and come forth…"  John 5:28-29
"Jesus said… I am the resurrection  and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"     John 11:25-26
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven… and the dead in Christ will rise first."  1 Thessalonians 4:16
"…We await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself."   Philippians 3:20-21
"Beloved…we know that when He shall appear, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."  1 John 3:2
      After his resurrection from the dead, Jesus returned to heaven, and it is there he now waits for the time of his second coming.  This is when he will return to this earth as King in order to establish his government and bring this earth back under the dominion of God.
"…This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."  Acts 1:11
"For He [Jesus] must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his prophets."  Acts 3:21
"For Christ…entered…into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us…and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."  Hebrews 9:24,28
      The world is filled with bad news and it will continue to get worse. No matter how much man tries to solve the world’s social, political, and economic problems, it will never happen. It may be a good attempt, but it is a lost cause!  There needs to be a total overthrow of the entire system of human government. No one has that kind of power, except God. 
      The good news from the Bible is that when Jesus Christ appears a second time, that is exactly what he will do! In that glorious day, the government of the earth will be upon his shoulder!
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The might God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6
      This is the only solution to man’s problems today in this evil world. The wonderful good news of the coming Kingdom of God is the focus of Jesus Christ’s message for humanity. His followers, since the time of his first coming, are those that embrace this good news and live in expectation and hope of this coming day!
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."  Titus 2:13
The Return of Jesus Christ
      The return of the Lord Jesus Christ will be the most spectacular event this world has ever seen. The Bible calls it the day of the Lord. There has never been anything like it nor will there ever be. All those who are alive at that time will see his coming!
"Behold, he is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him…" Revelation 1:7
"For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man [Jesus Christ] be."    Matthew 24:27
      The hope of the gospel of the kingdom of God is the return of God’s anointed King, Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can bring redemption and peace to this planet, which under human rule has never seen a time that was free of war, strife, turmoil or suffering.
      In his first coming, Jesus qualified to be the future King over this earth. In his second coming, he will come back from heaven with power and great glory to take total control of the kingdom of this world and reign supreme as King of kings and Lord of lords.
"Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He [Jesus Christ] who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.    Revelation 19:11,16
"Behold, the day of the Lord is coming… And in that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east… And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one."   Zechariah 14:1,4,9
"The seventh angel sounded his trumpet… The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."  Revelation 11:15
      The day of the Lord is also called the day of judgment! The world, as we know it, will never be the same. The second coming of Christ will be accompanied with judgment; a complete catastrophic overthrow, and a cataclysmic destruction of this present world system with all its corrupt human governments and rulers. Even the sun, the moon, and the stars of heaven will be affected at the coming of the Lord Jesus!  Jesus said to his disciples:
"But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun  will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory."   Mark 13:23-26
"But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and everything in them will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be exposed to judgment."  2 Peter 3:10
      In the day of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ will be highly exalted and all the men of this world will be humbled. All men, great and small, will seek to hide themselves in that day from the terror of the Lord. In that day, the whole earth will tremble!
"For the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, Upon everything lifted up — And it shall be brought low — And the pride of man will be humbled, And the loftiness of men will be abased, And the Lord alone will be exalted in that day… In that day, a man will cast away his idols of silver And his idols of gold, Which they made… In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, Before the terror of the Lord and the splendor of His majesty, When He arises to make the earth tremble." Isaiah 2:12,17, 20-21
"…God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth."   Philippians 2:9-10
      According to the Bible, the whole earth, including its heaven above, will be changed at the second coming of Jesus Christ. In that day, the whole planet will be renovated into a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells!
"Looking for and truly desiring the coming of the day of God, when the heavens will come to an end through fire, and the substance of the earth will be changed by the great heat? But having faith in his word, we are looking for a new heaven and a new earth, which will be the resting-place of righteousness."  2 Peter 3:12-13
 Are You Prepared?
"…Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"   Luke 23:42
      Jesus Christ is coming back! The kingdom of God is coming! Make no mistake! Christ will return to this earth and establish his kingdom and all those that belong to him shall be raised from the dead and changed into his likeness to rule with him over this earth. The question is: Are you ready?  Will Jesus remember you when he returns to establish his kingdom on this earth? How do you receive the good news of Jesus Christ and his kingdom?
Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. repent, and believe in the gospel." Mark 1:15
      Jesus invites you to accept his message of the kingdom of God and to become his follower, his disciple. Once you hear and understand the gospel message about his kingdom he commands you to repent. What does "repent" mean?  It simply means "a willingness to turn from your own vain way of living and turn to the teachings, commands, and life of the Lord Jesus Christ." Repentance has to do with rethinking, changing the mind, having a complete reorientation in a new direction, with a newfound belief in the Kingdom of God. We need to repent in view of the coming judgment.
"God…now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising him from the dead."  Acts 17:30-31
      The Lord Jesus is not slow in keeping his promise to return to this earth! The apparent long delay in his return is not that he is slow to fulfill his promise, but rather, he is being patient toward YOU! He is giving you time to change your ways and repent from your sinful deeds before the Day of Judgment because he does not desire anyone to perish!
"The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent." 2 Peter 3:9
      Jesus also commands you to believe in the gospel, which means that you accept the facts of the message to be true! How do you know you believe? If you believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true for you, then you will act upon what it says for you to do! In the Bible, all those that believed the gospel of the kingdom, the gospel of Jesus Christ, demonstrated their new belief by submission to water baptism. Jesus said to his faithful followers:
"…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."       Mark 16:15-16
"…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…Then those who gladly received his word were baptized… They devoted themselves to the apostles’s doctrine….And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."  Acts 2:38,41,42,47
       The Bible clearly indicates that the proper response to hearing the gospel message is to believe it, repent,  be baptized, and continue in the teachings of faith.  Baptism is not a change in ethnicity but the most important thing about water baptism is that it joins you to a believing community of disciples or followers of Christ called the church. This is where your walk of faith begins! The church is not a literal building or structure of wood and stone! The church is made up of living people!
    The word "church" actually means "a literal gathering or assembly of people in a specific location which have the same values, beliefs, and goals." Jesus started his church when he came to the earth the first time, and it continues today. Christ’s church is made up of faithful followers of Jesus Christ and his teachings of the kingdom of God. That is why in the Bible the church is called "the household of faith."   According to the Bible, those who are in Christ’s church are considered to be God’s people on the earth today. The Bible says that Jesus loves his church as a husband loves his wife. In other words, Christ’s relationship to his church is a close and committed covenant relationship. Only those who are in a covenant relationship have the privilege of receiving a constant cleansing and forgiveness of sins through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
    For the Lord declares to his people:
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”  Hebrews 8:10,12
      God is a holy God and cannot fellowship with that which is unclean and defiled by sin. Through Jesus Christ’s offering of himself on the cross as a sacrifice, his disciples can be delivered, cleansed, and forgiven of sin in order to stay in right relationship with God.
      Although Jesus is in heaven today, he is with his church through the Holy Spirit and he has committed to his church his gospel message, which includes all of his teachings. Jesus said to his church:
"Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you…" Matthew 28:19-20
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."  Matthew 24:14       
       It is the church that makes disciples of Christ by administrating water baptism to those that have sincerely believed the gospel message of Jesus Christ and have repented. It is in the church that we learn the teachings and commands of Jesus so we can prepare to enter into his kingdom when he returns.
       The teachings of the Holy Bible are very powerful, practical, and life changing! Many people, who at one time wasted their lives in bondage to sin and crooked living have been transformed and given a new way of life through the instruction received from the Holy Bible. 
       Following Jesus Christ as a disciple was never meant to be an individual effort, but instead, it is about being joined to others that are like-minded in the truth, in love, encouragement, commitment, and faith. According to the Bible, no one was ever considered a Christian apart from being a faithful member of a true covenant church, which gathered together around the teaching of the kingdom of God.
"…And they were with the church there for a year, teaching the people; and the disciples were first given the name of christians in Antioch."    Acts 11:26
      If you are interested in what you have read in this booklet and you sincerely desire to know more about the good news of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God, please feel free to contact us at Berean Bible Church.
      We, at Berean Bible Church, are dedicated to the teachings of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our desire to find people seeking the truth and to help them become disciples that are prepared and ready to stand before Jesus Christ on the Day of Judgment and enter into the blessing of God’s glorious kingdom when it comes to this earth. For the Lord Jesus Christ commanded his faithful followers to:
"…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…" 
                                                                                       Matthew 6:33