Be Prepared

“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 he 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.” (Matthew 24:9-14)

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” (Isaiah 7:9)
Jesus’ words of warning to us in these verses are reminiscent of the promise He gives us in the Gospel of John. He tells us not to be taken by surprise at the troubles and events of this dark and broken world–they are certain:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
(John 14:27)

“Calvary is God’s great proof that suffering in the will of God always leads to glory.”
-Warren Wiersb
Indeed, many times in the New Testament we are told that tribulation, hardships, affliction, distress, and other difficulties are simply an everyday part of Christian living. Furthermore, much of the tribulation experienced will be a direct result of our standing confidently for the Word of God and firmly in the will of God. Yet, in Him, perfect peace is just as certain!

Our Lord here warns of a coming general apostasy and obvious decay of religion as well as a foretelling of promised persecution.

“Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger people! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for powers equal to your tasks.” -Phillips Brooks
Jesus is reminding His disciples once again of persecution so they are not surprised by oncoming suffering and conflict. This is a heads up for us as well. We find a lot out about our faith when faced with trials and persecution.

Jesus said in Luke:

“All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.” (Luke 21:17-19)

“A fixed, constant attention to the promises, and a firm belief in them, would prevent solicitude and anxiety about the concerns of this life. It would keep the mind quiet and composed in every change, and support and keep up our sinking spirits under the several troubles of life … Christians deprive themselves of their most solid comforts by their unbelief and forgetfulness of God’s promises. For there is no extremity so great but there are promises suitable to it, and abundantly sufficient for our relief in it.” -Samuel Clarke
Tribulations should never catch us off guard. During these perilous times, our Lord also warns us of two things–the abounding of wickedness and the abating of love. Yet, graciously, God always preserves a remnant for Himself who hold fast to their integrity and zeal even in the worst of times. There will most assuredly be those who stand firm to the end.

We are reminded in our verses for today that the Gospel will be preached to all nations before the end will come. It is a Gospel that will reveal the kingdom of grace which leads to the kingdom of glory.

Take It to Heart

“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” (Thomas V. Moore)

“Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger … these are nothing when compared with the glory that will be revealed in, and for us.” (David Livingstone)

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