Standing Firm in Faith to the End

Matthew 24:9-14 NIV

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

All of Matthew 24 is describing for us the signs of the end of the age and of the nearness of our Lord’s return. I personally believe we are in this time now. There are many false messiah’s in our generation. They don’t all literally claim that they are “the Messiah,” but yet they claim that they are the ones to save us from our troubles and to bring us peace and security. And many people worship these false messiah’s (saviors), too.

Also, wars never cease. I live in America, and I believe my nation has been in war after war after war, at least for as long as I have lived, if not longer, and if not our whole existence as a nation. And I believe my nation is the instigator of (or at least party to instigating) all or most of these wars they have been involved in. For I believe they work for and are party to world powers who are doing what Revelation 13 talks about. They are conquering people and nations all as part of a plot for world domination.

Persecution of the Saints

And then it says that then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Christ Jesus. But this has been going on ever since Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven. The Lord’s servants and witnesses have gone through enormous suffering over the years since his death and resurrection. But not all those who believe in Jesus have endured such severe persecution as this, but it is coming.

Although most Christians in America have not had to suffer the kind of severe persecution that Christians in other nations have had to suffer, and are still suffering, we who are following Jesus Christ wholeheartedly, and who are walking in his ways and in his truth, and who are sharing the truth of the gospel of Christ, at a time when lies are being spread everywhere, are being persecuted. We may not yet be being persecuted physically, though I am certain some are, but we are being attacked in other ways.

For, the church at large in America (not every church) has gone the way of the world, and they are doing the kinds of things the worldly do in order to attract large crowds of people from the world to their gatherings. They have indeed turned away from the true faith and they are betraying and hating each other. Many are being trained to do this, in fact. For the church at large has adopted the ways of the world and the ways of marketing schemes in order to draw in these large crowds of people from the world.

And so most of them, it appears, have rejected the true gospel of grace which Jesus taught, and which his New Testament Apostles taught, and they have adopted a cheapened form of God’s grace which does not require death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness. This diluted gospel message, which is permeating the church in America, does not require repentance, obedience to our Lord, nor submission to Christ as Lord. But they give their adherents freedom to keep on in deliberate and habitual sin.

So, if you are still living according to the teachings of Christ and of his New Testament apostles, and if you are teaching what they taught, then most likely you are being persecuted and hated and cast aside and abandoned for your genuine walks of faith and for sharing the truth of the gospel. And this should include the fact that you have also separated yourself from the ways of this sinful world and so you will be rejected by those who are still living according to the patterns of this sinful world.

Stand Firm to the End

At least here in America, it appears the vast majority of pastors have adopted the marketing schemes of men in order to guide them in how to conduct the gatherings of what is called “church,” and in how to present the message of the gospel. And so church gatherings have been geared more toward attracting the world to the gatherings, and so they have become more about entertaining the world than they are about discipling the Lord’s servants so that they can go out into the world to preach the gospel.

And the gospel presentation has been diluted in order to make it more appealing and acceptable to the people of the world and to human flesh. And so many people professing faith in Jesus Christ are living not much different from those making no profession of faith in Christ. Their conversations revolve around the same topics of movies and music and games and jokes and politics, which is not all bad, but to the exclusion mostly of any conversation having to do with Jesus Christ and with his gospel message.

And this is because so many of them are growing cold toward Christ and true faith in Jesus Christ, and they are charting their own courses, and they are going their own way, and they are not walking in the ways of the Lord. They are not running the race God has marked out for us to run, for they have not laid aside those things which weigh them down, and they have not cast off those sins which so easily cling to them and entangle them. And so the vast majority of professing Christians all seem to be “struggling” with sinful addiction and have not yet been delivered from slavery to sin.

But those of us who stand firm to the end will be saved. Now, this is yet another passage of Scripture, thus, which teaches progressive salvation. We are not saved (once, past) and then we are good to go until we get to heaven. That is not what the Scriptures teach. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns and he takes his bride to be with him, which is when our salvation will be complete, provided that our walks of faith are genuine.

But all this is provided that we have continued in walks of submission to Christ, in obedience to his commands, and in the forsaking of sin to the end. We have to stand firm in faith to the end in order to be saved. For if we continue to walk according to the flesh, in deliberate and habitual sin, still living for the sinful pleasures of this world, and if obedience to our Lord and righteousness are not what we practice (live by), then we will not have eternal life with God regardless of what we profess with our lips.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

‘Til The Storm Passes By

By Thomas Mosie Lister

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face
While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

Many times Satan whispered
There is no use to try
For there’s no end of sorrow, there’s no hope by and by
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

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