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tribulation in the world

"In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."  (Jn 16:33)  

This was true when Jesus uttered these words to his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion.  These words are just as true 2000 years later.  We may have greater knowledge and better technology, but humanity's problems persist: wars, strife, injustice, poverty, lust, anger, fear, loneliness, and despair.  

Many people feel that it was (and is) the church's job to change the world for the better, to improve things, to make this world a better place to live.  They would say Christianity has not been the answer to the world's problems, and that the church has held up the world in its progress, and therefore needs to be discarded.  But our Lord did not promise that the world would ever become a  better place or improve over time, even given exposure to the gospel.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in preaching on John 16, makes these statements...

What is your view of what is happening in the world at the present time?

Are you driven into the depths of despair by what is happening in the world today? Is this something that has come crashing into all your calculations and ideas, or is it something that fits naturally and inevitably into your view of life and of the whole course of history? What is your forecast of the future? What are you expecting of life?

Does this doctrine of the Second Coming seem remote to you or irrelevant?

In their perplexity [people] regard the gospel as something that is to be applied to life, and by its application they think life can be reformed and improved. So it follows that they often feel that this teaching of the Second Coming of Christ is so remote as to be finally irrelevant.
He tells them that they will have troubles and trials and tribulations. What comfort does he have to give them? Do you notice what he does? He talks about his death and the cross, and then he goes straight from his death and resurrection to the Second Coming.

The Bible teaches, quite categorically, that sin is such a radical problem that the world cannot now and never will improve itself.

~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled (Crossway, 2009)


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