Elders Update #24

Dear Church Family,

Greetings in the Name of the One who is bringing history to an end.

As an eldership, under the authority of Jesus Christ, we are stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour through the apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was flooded with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

Do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

If those words sound familiar to you, it is because they are not our own. They were written by Peter, inspired by the Spirit of Christ, in the third chapter of his second letter. The Scripture reference is deliberately omitted, owing to our occasional tendency to make a mental switch when seeing quotation marks indicating a verse – we can sometimes start to read the words as if they were otherworldly or needlessly complicated, instead of given to be plainly understood. Perhaps you found that the case as you read the above two paragraphs; perhaps not. In any case, the chapter & verse divisions in our Bibles are artificial insertions, purely for referencing purposes much later (chapters, in the 12th Century / verses, around 1551). Prior to that, the books of Scripture had no numbers to intrude upon our thinking. The original manuscripts would have read much like the above. But that is not the point of this letter. The point is the absolute certainty of the end of all things, and the return of Christ to establish a new creation – renewed from the old.

It is a subject that we have wanted to speak to more directly, in earlier letters; but also to touch on without creating misunderstanding. If, as elders, we had spoken about the end of history and the second coming in April, someone may have assumed we were referring to the COVID-19 pandemic as a harbinger of Christ’s immediate arrival, and so started digging a bunker with batteries & bottled water. What’s more, the message of Revelation (the subject of our morning series) would have been undermined by exactly the sort of fantastical date-setting that we strive to avoid. Now, as ever, the timing of Christ’s return remains God’s alone to know; and we are quite comfortable to leave such in His wise care. But, as a matter of general readiness necessary for any century of the church, and certainly appropriately brought to remembrance by the pandemic, we do remind you of the eventual end of this world as we know it – an end that Scripture always urges the Christian to consider as imminent and near.

So look with fresh eyes upon this world – its politics, weddings, bonds, bills, careers, homes, gardens, environment, artworks, movies, sports, diplomas, cars, collectibles, faces, friends, family reunions, enterprises and travels – behold it all. There is a day – coming soon and suddenly – like a thief in the night – when there will be a creation-wide crescendo of judgement and redemption. It may yet be a hundred years from now – or even longer still – but it is not an exaggeration to say it may also break upon us before you finish reading this letter. Then you will stand before the unfathomably great and holy Living God, upon this Day of Judgement. For serious, sincere believers – it shall be a day of infinite joy and measured reward. For the self-deceived, the hypocritical, the mocker, the unbeliever – it will be a day eternal and unparalleled terror and punishment. Again we say to you – everything you see around you…is temporary, and destined to end. Every mountain, rock or fynbos. Every mall, house or church building. Every bird, every beast, every thing. The truths of the Bible are not just true for those who happen to believe them – they are truth over all and about all. The domain of God’s authority is universal – and so too the extent of this Day, spoken of so plainly by the apostle Peter. Are you ready?

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness? Waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God – because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn.  But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells….Beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

Until then, here are some updates for us as a church.

  • Registration & Cancellation – A reminder to please register early in the week if you intend coming to a service. Please also be sure to submit your cancellation if, later in the week, you find yourself unable to attend.
  • Sunday Services – The first evening service was very well attended. It was near capacity, and so we may soon have to consider a third service. We will be monitoring this, and continue to adapt as need dictates. It was also good to see a number of visitors to the church at the services, for which we give thanks.
  • Pilgrim’s Progress – The next study is set for Wednesday 2nd September. At this stage, it will likely remain ‘online’, and not as a meeting at the church. We will inform the congregation of any changes on Sunday.
  • Church Officers’ mail – Please be sure to read, and respond to, the time-sensitive mail sent out by the church officers.
  • Signage & Logo Exploration – We are looking at improving the church signage, and adding a neat, presentable, electronic billboard. There will be a cost involved, but the benefits are considerable – it will assist in promoting church events, and for general information & witness into the community. This in turn led into discussion around the possibility of a new church ‘logo’, together with a new verse/motto, to reflect both our identity, and our desire to witness into the community. The church officers are exploring both these matters – and will be bringing proposals & fuller motivation to the church at a later date for your consideration.

Take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.

Martin, Winton, Shane & Andrew