We sang this hymn in church recently. It reminded me, that we can always look to Christ and many generations of His followers as examples and inspiration for our own walk. Read your Bible to find the leader you want to emulate, then follow in the train!
Not a discussion of various end-times beliefs, author Trevin K. Wax focuses his book on eschatology in a much more general sense. His definition of eschatology includes concepts of life beyond death and everything connected with it — heaven, hell, reincarnation, resurrection, immortality, rebirth, last judgement and more. It is not limited to Christianity, as other religions and even atheists still have a vision for humanity’s future, and this vision influences the worldview of those who hold it.
The big question Dr. Wax poses is for Christians is, “What time is it?” or more specifically, “What do I do in light of what time it is?” In other words, if we recognize that our discipleship is influenced by the place we are in (for example a church in China vs. a wealthy U.S. suburb) we should also realize that the way we function as disciples and our God-give task will be shaped by the time in which we live.
He begins by defining the terms eschatology, worldview and discipleship and proceeds to a study of eschatological discipleship in the Old and New Testament and Acts. Next he discusses some of the worldviews which are “rivals” to Christian eschatology: the Enlightenment, the sexual revolution and consumerism; and finally he evaluates a variety of evangelical conceptions of discipleship in view of Christian eschatology.
I found parts of this book fascinating because it address the “why” of how people think. Unbelievers often do not “get” the Christian lifestyle because they have an entirely different worldview and understanding of where humanity is headed and what will happen to us as individuals when we die. Their “faith” is as deeply entrenched as our own, and arguing will usually not change it. He also explains how even Christians are subtly influenced by the cultural worldviews which surround us.
Verdict: Very well written and interesting, this book will challenge the average layperson. Dr. Wax writes in an academic style and uses many technical terms. He also assumes a knowledge of world history and philosophy not everyone will have. It’s probably of most interest to Pastors, seminarians and professors of religion. If you are interested in purchasing this book, you may use the link below:
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
Jesus is speaking to the disciples here, and his words are clear. To be fruitful, they must abide, or remain in Him. He compares the Christian life to a vine which will wither and die if it is separated from the root. The fruit of the spirit flows from a life that is rooted in Christ. The disciples could not do it on their own, and neither can we.
How do we stay connected to Christ? It’s simple.
- Stay in His word. Read it daily. Study it. Memorize it. Think about it. Respond to it.
- Stay in prayer. Prayer is our lifeline, our personal connection to Him. Pray first, last and always. Pray to ask, and pray to listen.
- Stay with His people. Go to church. Offer hospitality. Encourage one another. Love one another.
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” John 15:8
Here is Michele’s take on the last chapter of Hebrews. Have you enjoyed reading along with her?
In this, the final chapter, we are told how to live our lives as the disciples of Christ. By loving one another, being hospitable to strangers, staying true in marriage, and so forth. Exclaim the message of Jesus on your lips often. Do good works in His name, with no desire for recognition. Do not allow yourself to be swayed by false teachings, require all told to you to be from God’s word.
In conclusion, I have found the book of Hebrews to be a blueprint for how things were before Jesus, and how we should live now under the new covenant.
Thank you for your patience and I hope I have given you some insight into this book.