This last generation has been fooled by finances ...
Jesus tells His followers to watch for His return so that they aren't caught off guard.
I have noticed through conversation that many Christians are reluctant to recognize the end times we live in. This is not because of the lack of signs being fulfilled almost daily, but because it doesn't fit into what they want.
There is a popular sticker around the Orange County area that looks like it says "NOW" and there is a cross coming out of the "O". It stands for "Not of This World" and Christians, especially in this generation more than any other time, really need to own that sentiment.
In Revelation, Christ authors seven quick epistles. Each epistle represents a spiritual age of the church. Here is what He says about the condition of the church at the end of the age. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that you wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked..."
This last generation, particularly in the West, has been fooled by finances. We have been tricked by Disneyland and Wall Street that dreams and riches are what make a good life. This has come into the church known as the "prosperity doctrine." Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:5, "Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself." Exactly the opposite of what the world is teaching.
In 1 Timothy 6:10 Paul says, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faih, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." I can personally identify with this verse. My desire to have "the good life" led me down a very destructive road. I grew up very poor. As a kid growing up in Orange County I thought I was middle class. In fact, it wasn't until in my 30's when I went to work for Morgan Stanley as a financial adviser/stock broker that I realized just how poor I was. Watching these accounts go back and forth with millions of dollars was commonplace. We had a very lively branch manager named Clay. On Monday morning we would have a sales meeting and Clay would end with, "Okay, lets get out there and find those millionaires and show them how to make money!" Well it didn't take me long to realize they already knew how to make the money, and none of them were financial advisers. The common denominator was that they owned businesses. So I determined from then on that I was going to somehow own a business. Well, after three attempts including trucking, real estate and plastics over seven year period my credit was destroyed, I was broke and eventually homeless (although that last part was a conscious choice so I could pay back a debt).
Now, I was not a practicing Christian at the time. But if I would have been, I think the outcome would have been different. If I had been living by Biblical principles maybe I could have been ascribing 1 Timothy 6:6-8 to my story instead where it says "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." Content with clothes and food... wait... is this a trick? Where is the Mercedes? Where is the white picket fence, 3 weeks of vacation, retirement, plastic surgery, etc. It's not there.
Over the last few years I have been forced to learn to be humble. It is painful in many ways. Plans and goals I once had will never be realized. Its all a part of dying to self and putting God first. Jesus said before you decide to become His follower to "count the cost." You have to give up many pleasures that this world would have you believe are yours by right. You have to learn to pick up your cross. But how do you measure dying to self for this world which is going away extremely soon, against all eternity?
In Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 Jesus gives us the signs of the end times. We are certainly that generation. In Luke 21:8 Jesus says, "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." We are the end generation, the generation that saw Israel come back to the land. Jesus tells His followers to watch for His return so that they aren't caught off guard.
Those of you who have not accepted Christ are out of time. Those of you who are Christians ought to guard yourselves that this world does not have a grip on you. Remember, we are "Not of This World."