Jesus Plus Nothing Bible Studies
Running the race in the last days: The Acceleration (the pace is picking up)

by I Gordon

Jer 12:5 If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?

I have called this series ‘Running the race in the last days’ but apart from the very first message on the approaching finish line I haven’t spoken much about ‘the last days’ aspect. Oooops. We’ll focus on that more in this study. So far we have looked at 'The Finish Line', 'The Entanglement' and my last message on ‘The Coach’1. There we explored how we have a heavenly Coach and He doesn’t see things the same way we do. He has perfect vision of where we should be going and the path to get us there. It involves a plan that includes training, discipline and exercise… because He loves us.

I’ve called this message ‘The acceleration’ which may not exactly give the whole game away so let me explain. In any long distance race there comes a point where things ‘take off’ so to speak. The pace, which may have been constant and manageable for some time, starts to quicken. For example, if you were in a 5000m race, there would be quite a few laps initially that are run at a constant modest pace. People don’t enter long distance races and start sprinting from the get-go. Well, not those in their right mind! They are generally happy to run together at a manageable pace for some time. But everyone knows it can’t stay like this forever. As thoughts of the finish line start to enter the mind, the pace begins to accelerate. Things start to happen. It’s still not chaotic… but you can notice the change. Then, be it one of two laps from the end, 300m maybe… at some point someone will make their move. Once that happens, it is all on. Everything starts to happen at once. You are putting the foot down and its full acceleration mode. Like birth pangs coming upon a woman, the pace and intensity increases until the final finish line. That is ‘the acceleration’.

We live in an age when the end is approaching and the pace has quickened considerably. People are noticing it. It hasn’t gone full chaotic yet things have picked up and the signs are there of a crazy last push to the finish line. The acceleration is on. We will focus on that today as we look at the following:

The acceleration… what is it?

Let’s start with a question… when looking at the world at large, or even your world, what would you say is accelerating? And no, I’m accepting ‘my grey hairs, wrinkles, saggy skin and deteriorating eye sight.’ Alas! I’m afraid these things are common to all since Adam and Eve decided to do things their way! But what is it that is speeding up and increasing? I guess the common scripture to mention is this favourite from Daniel:

Dan 12:4 "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."

This tells us that at the time of the end knowledge and travel will be increased. Many will be going to and fro… zipping this way and that. For most, travel was basically by foot or horse till around 1900. Now people are criss-crossing the entire globe with over 100,000 planes in the air per day. What about knowledge? Goodness! One website said:

Buckminster Fuller (in 1982) created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. According to IBM , the build out of the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.” 2

When you read that you might be thinking ‘ok… stop the bus… I want to get off!’

Basically, by the time you take your new computer home from the store and unpack it… I’m sorry, it’s a little bit out-dated! We now live in the days of virtual reality, robots, driverless cars, artificial intelligence, and, as mentioned in the quote above, the increasing ‘Internet of things’ that could lead, according to IBM, to a doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.

What is the ‘internet of things’ again, you ask?

Well, it’s where all devices and appliances are connected to the internet, sharing and receiving information. An example might help. Let’s say you are about to leave work for the day when you get a txt. It’s not your wife or your husband. It’s not you son. It’s a txt from your fridge. With little to do, your fridge has been scanning the items on its shelves and noted that the barcode on your milk confirms that it is indeed past it’s used by date. So your fridge has contacted the website of your local supermarket and ordered some more. He’s txting you to say it should be delivered at 5:30 tonight, right at the time you normally get home according to information he received from your garage door opener. But your fridge also wants you to know that he’s (not sure why your fridge is a ‘he’… unless it’s because it holds a lot of food!) decided on trim milk because he received some telling information from your bathroom scales (who is also sending the results wirelessly) which do not read well! No more full cream milk for you pudgy boy! As well as trim milk your fridge has scanned the internet and has included some specials on local gym membership. Just as a friendly hint.

Now I’m exaggerating a little but you get the message. The ‘internet of things’ is the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data’ and according to IBM this will lead to a doubling of human knowledge every 12 hours. Nuts. So what else is accelerating? We could mention the population explosion, natural disasters, species extinction, government and household debt, crime…3

On a spiritual level, a massive one for the believer is the apostasy… the great falling away from the faith and truth. In short, it is getting harder to run this race because the acceleration and increase of the false, the counterfeit and the general opposition to the things of God is rapidly increasing in this age, as prophesied would happen in God’s Word. Especially in the Western world. And it is tiring. It can be very difficult seeing what is happening where good is called evil and evil good. But it is not without Biblical precedence. Let’s look at…

The days of Jeremiah

It is interesting to look at the days of Jeremiah (pictured here to the right by the famous paint by Rembrant). Some quick points about Jeremiah and his times are:

Jer 12:1-5 You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? (2) You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts. (3) Yet you know me, O LORD; you see me and test my thoughts about you. Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter! (4) How long will the land lie parched and the grass in every field be withered? Because those who live in it are wicked, the animals and birds have perished. Moreover, the people are saying, "He will not see what happens to us." (5) If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?

Things were accelerating in the days of Jeremiah and not in the right direction, so we hear Jeremiah asking the age old question – ‘How come the wicked are prospering? How come evil seems to be winning? Why won’t you judge them Lord?’ Jeremiah was struggling. He didn’t like what he saw. It isn’t easy seeing things deteriorate, then or now. He could see that things had changed and not for the better. We find ourselves in the same condition today. The Lord’s answer is quite telling… ‘ If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?’ In other words… “things are about to speed up Jeremiah. Yes, the pace is increasing. If you are struggling running now, what will you do when things really accelerate?” 4

Some relevant themes from the times of Jeremiah

So why was Jeremiah struggling? What was going on in his day that made it hard to take? Some examples:

Conclusion - What shall we do? The 5 lettuces in Hebrew 10

So what shall we do as we see things accelerating in our day? There is some useful advice in Hebrews 10 where five 'let-us-ces' are given. It's the full salad lunch that you need to munch on here! All of these things are that which scripture encourages us to do ‘…and all the more as you see the Day approaching’.

Personal aspect

Heb 10:22 Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

Draw near to God. We have no strength apart from Him. He is the living water as He said to Jeremiah. And we need as much of Him and His life as we can get in this last days as the race pace quickens.

Heb 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

What we believe will become increasingly unpopular. There will be more pressure to turn from it. More Christians in their place of work will feel the pressure to compromise what they believe. Hold unswervingly to the hope we profess. He who promised is faithful. The promises are real. The prophecies are real. The fulfilment will soon take place!

Community aspect

Heb 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

We should also think of other. Spur one another on in the faith – especially towards love and good deeds. Jesus said in John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." We shouldn’t just be known for what we are against but more importantly what we are for!

Heb 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.

Continue to meet together. It’s God’s plan for believers from the start. The 'eccelesia', the body of the Lord, working together as one, supporting each other as a body does. Each member playing a part as the Lord has enabled and gifted. The way was never meant to be a solo run.

Heb 10:25 but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Why? Because believers will need it! The race pace will quicken. Things will be more difficult. 

  1. After I gave this message in church, someone said to me that they appreciated what I said but it wasn’t ‘an ear tickling’ message. That, on reflection, is a fair call. The training and discipline of our Father, the Head Coach, are not always pleasing to the ear. And to be honest I have never really given any thought, at any stage, whether any of my messages are ear tickling or not. Well, not until now… but as I prepared this message which was on my heart, I did find myself thinking ‘is this an ear tickler’? So let me say right up front that no, this doesn’t really fall into the ‘ear tickling’ category either. Sorry about that!  

  2. From  

  3. Christ in prophecy have a good article on this here:  

  4. J. Vernon McGee writes on this verse:

    “You'll forgive me, I'm not trying to be irreverent, but this is actually what God is saying to Jeremiah: "If you are troubled now by what things are going to happen, well, you ain't seen nothing yet! Things are to get lots worse, Jeremiah. And if you're troubled now, what are you going to do when it really gets bad?"  Friend, things may look bad to us today, but they are going to get worse. I hope the knowledge of that will help draw you closer to God. He does not explain all the details to us as we might wish He would, but He does tell us that we can trust Him to always do the right thing.”  

  5. I always find it amusing that people listen to 'actors' as if what they say is really important. Because they have been in Hollywood we should listen to them right? But what are they good at? They are good at pretending to be someone they are not. Does that sound like someone that should be believed and trusted? :)