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Hope for a Troubled World

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Hope for a Troubled World

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Jesus said not to worry and fret over our physical needs but to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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). This, then, is the first priority of every Christian—to pursue God’s Kingdom through living as He commands. This pursuit leads to a life of great meaning and purpose, filled with personal enrichment, one with absolute faith in a future that is wonderful beyond anything we can imagine.

Ultimately, God desires that all mankind be saved and live eternally in His family and Kingdom (1 Timothy 2:3-4 1 Timothy 2:3-4 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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; 2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
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). This is what motivates us as members of the United Church of God in our collective responsibility. We see our mission as servants of God called to proclaim this message, serving God in the fulfillment of His amazing purpose for humanity. There can be no greater mission in life than to have a part in fulfilling this eternal objective.

Our greatest challenge for this age, then, is to live as God commands, to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world, to make disciples in all nations and to care for the disciples God adds to His Church today (Matthew 28:19 Matthew 28:19Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
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We value God’s plan to save every individual who will yield to Him. We understand that two distinct groups of people will hear the message proclaimed by the Church. Jesus said of those called to be His disciples, “It has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” but concerning everyone else He said, “To them it has not been given”—that is, in this present age (Matthew 13:11 Matthew 13:11He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
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).

The second group is the world at large—those who, according to God’s time and purpose, He will eventually also call and grant mercy to upon their repentance (Romans 11:25-32 Romans 11:25-32 25 For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. 29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 30 For as you in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all.
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). To this group the Church proclaims a message of hope.

Why is this knowledge important? Every individual—regardless of race, national origin or sex—will, in time, have the opportunity to be called by God and to hear and respond to the good news of the Kingdom of God and to the testimony of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. What they learn about God’s ways today may help them come to repentance with less difficulty at that time.

Therefore, the gospel of the Kingdom of God is a message directed to all of mankind. God’s plan explicitly provides for every human being from every nation to eventually have an opportunity for membership in His family—according to His timetable and will. As Peter said, “How true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:34-35 Acts 10:34-35 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.
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, NIV).

Hope beyond the time of the end

Bible prophecy warns of a coming time of international upheaval unlike any previous period in world history. Jesus describes it as a time of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now— and never to be equaled again” (Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
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, NIV).

He tells His followers to “watch,” to be personally vigilant concerning their own spiritual condition, with an eye on world events so as to understand the times and not be caught unaware and unprepared (Luke 21:36 Luke 21:36Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
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; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 1 But of the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that I write to you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail on a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
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). (For better understanding of end-time events, request our free booklets You Can Understand Bible Prophecy , The Book of Revelation Unveiled and Are We Living in the Time of the End? )

Christians should have a basic understanding of the times and events that may affect their lives and be able to consider them in a proper context. Paul describes Christ’s servants in this present age as “ambassadors” for His coming Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:20 2 Corinthians 5:20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God.
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). That Kingdom is not here yet. But many of its citizens are alive today. The story the gospel tells is that of a little flock that, growing like a mustard seed will eventually fill the whole earth (see Luke 12:32 Luke 12:32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
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; Matthew 13:31-32 Matthew 13:31-32 31 Another parable put he forth to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
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).

Christ is now preparing, in His role as our High Priest, a people who will serve in His coming Kingdom (John 14:1-3 John 14:1-3 1 Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
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). He foretold that for His followers’ sake the terrible times ahead will be cut short and humanity will be saved from extinction (Matthew 24:22 Matthew 24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
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). Because of their faithfulness now, they will share in Christ’s future rule over the earth (Revelation 3:21 Revelation 3:21To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
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).

You, too, can choose to become a part of the work of God, a helper in proclaiming the eternal message of the Kingdom of God. The gospel of the coming Kingdom of God holds forth the only lasting solution to humanity’s problems. The United Church of God remains firm in its commitment to fulfill its part in that proclamation—making known the noble and awe-inspiring purpose for human life!

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