...enduring to the end.
I am always amazed at the direct simplicity of the commandments and exhortations of Christ and how impossible it is to misunderstand what it is he is saying. I am even more amazed at how the modern Church, false prophets and wicked workmen who have been misdirecting the sheep have been able to do just that - take the simple and direct statements of our Lord and Savior as well as those of his apostles and turn what they said on its head.
Today we are going to talk about enduring to the end. Pushing on towards the mark which is Jesus Christ despite and in the face of the cacophony of foolishness, demonic doctrines and other sundry evils that creep into the Churches and consciences of today's nominal Christians. Let's look at a passage recorded for us by Mark.
Now the brother shall betray the brother to death,
and the father the son; and children shall rise up
against their parents, and shall cause them to be
put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for Watson's Web
my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end,
the same shall be saved.
Hard Times, Worse Coming
For many believers in the East this is what is in store. For we in the west it the saying could be changed to 'good times, worse coming'. We have had it easy here in the west. But what Christ is describing is something that happened right after his resurrection in Judea and also in Rome, but also has been happening to true believers in Christ for centuries, often at the hands of other nominal Christians. They think they are doing God a service by killing his people.
They shall put you out of the synagogues:
yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth
you will think that he doeth God service.
And these things will they do unto you, because
they have not known the Father, nor me.
But Christ also told of us this as well. That there would come a time when people would really think they are serving God by killing his people. People get offended at the Gospel, they get mad when they hear God's truth; they rebel and get mad, they attack and denigrate. I know, I have seen this spirit over and over again and in almost every instance, particularly with family and friends, God was warning me of the spiritual danger such people pose and to withdraw myself from them...in most instances, for good.
In short, when the going gets tough, they will betray me. When God gives you insight into the character of others like that know that God may be warning you about someone and where they are heading spiritually. This level of betrayal, where brother delivers brother, not just to jail or an interrogation center, but to death... DEATH... Christ is describing some terrible times and some terrible people. But he is also warning us that this kind of thing is what we must endure... to the end. Persecution, this is one of the promises he made to us, if you follow Christ you are going to suffer persecution. Bear with me here brothers and sisters as I know many of you don't like when I repeat myself but this is an important concept so permit me to repeat myself. If you follow Christ... FULLY you are going to suffer persecution, often from those closest and dearest to you.
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus
shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers
shall wax worse and worse, deceiving,
and being deceived.
Do you want to serve the Lord? I mean do you really want to serve the Lord? Then get ready to lose all - your job, your family, your friends, your social position. Get ready because you may lose one, some or even all of these things if you really come to Christ. People in the Islamic world have had family members cast them out of the home, turn them over to Islamic authorities (for apostasy a crime that can carry the death penalty) or even kill them right there in the home. So cease to look at Christ's admonitions as being merely some theoretical possibility. It is a real one and one look at the way our society is heading and we can be sure that such things will one day come here as well.
What Christ warned us about in that passage from Mark (above) is that it's not enough just to suffer persecution, even from those who were once close to us, but that we must endure it to the end. We cannot and absolutely must not turn back. Once you do that you have given the devil exactly what he wants because that is his goal, to get us to apostatize and renounce the one thing all this persecution is designed to destroy... our faith in Christ.
I beseech all of you to keep that in mind always - the devils main target, the bullseye he is always targeting is your faith in Christ. Also remember that the devil is very persistent. He never stops and never gives up. If he fails today, he will try again tomorrow.
What is our job? It is very simple, it is to be that last man standing when the smoke clears in this Spiritual battlefield, to endure to the end. And yes, that is exactly what it is - we are in life and death spiritual battle. Death meaning eternal death, not just physical death. The stakes are enormous and eternal.
What gets me brother and sisters is that many so called believers want me to spend all day talking about the NWO and the mark of the beast and other 'scarey' topics of Bible prophecy. But one key aspects of prophecy is right now being fulfilled and I post stories regularly on it. It's called Persecution, it's called the extermination of the saints, its called the gathering of the Martyrs for Jesus. I post stories showing this fulfilment and I get a ho-hum from believers, they want to be frightened by the antichrist and the 10 horns, while their brothers in Christ (the REAL brothers of Jesus) are being taken out and shot, imprisoned and beaded for their witness. Few mark it. Why does Mark not talk about the antichrist? I have, many times. Bible Prophecy is about very much more than the anti-Christ system and if you read your Bibles and many of the pages here on this site, you would know that. Brothers, we Christians need to stop looking for an 'escape hatch' to get out of the system GOD HAS PUT US IN in these troubled times and find out how we can be of use to him while he tarries today, now.
Immer Vorwarts, Niemals Zuruck(always forward, never back)
We cannot be as Lot's wife and look longingly back at Sodom, nor as Saul, who had a powerful anointing from God but decided to do things his way instead of the Lord's. We cannot be like Solomon who received all manner of blessings from the Lord but lost his soul to a harem of pretty faces or like Judas who sold his Lord out for 30 pieces of silver.
No, we must endure to the end and remain faithful to our Lord... in all things. In our money, in our jobs, in our relationships, in our daily comings and goings, in family matters. God's service demands faithfulness in all we do and have been given. For was it not our Lord who said and warned us of the being faithful in what we have and then gave us all a stern warning about money and stewardship?
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful
also in much: and he that is unjust in the least
is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not
been faithful in the unrighteous mammon,
who will commit to your trust the true riches?
And if ye have not been faithful in that which is
another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?
No servant can serve two masters: for either
he will hate the one, and love the other;
or else he will hold to the one,
and despise the other.
Ye cannot serve God
We must be faithful with all that God has given us. This too is one of the key traits of those who will be left standing in Christ when the smoke clears in the great spiritual battles that lie ahead. Let us keep this important concept of faithfulness foremost in our minds brothers in these times. Why? I will answer your question with a question. Who is it that rides with Christ when he returns? How are they described? When describing Mystery Babylon and the beast that is inextricably linked with her, this is what the spirit bears witness to.
These shall make war with the Lamb, and theIn order to ride with Christ at his coming, you must fulfill three key prerequisites. This too is a key part of Bible Prophecy to be called, chosen and faithful.
Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords,
and King of kings: and they that are with him are called,
and chosen, and faithful.
You have to have been called by him. A calling does not mean automatic salvation, it means that God has called you out so that you may serve him. It is a specific 'call' or request if you will, and it is directed at specific individuals. Did not Christ differentiate this in his own words about the calling? Here is what he said.
For many are called,So the calling is insufficient in and of itself for salvation and to ride with Christ as one of his saints. No, there is more involved. You also have to have been chosen by him. These things have been debated about by scholar for centuries as it the issue revolves around God's sovereignty and the idea of free will. I will not get into it here, the doctrines of Calvanism are interesting, but they miss the point. Free will and God's sovereignty do not come into conflict here as some allege. (you can scour the web and look up Calvanism Vs. Arminianism). But the question has plagued scholars for some time and bears mentioning. The key here is that there are the Called and the Chosen. If we go and look at the parable that Christ was using when he made this statement, it was about a Wedding feast for his son and the people who were invited did not come. They all made their excuses but did not want to be bothered. Some even went so far as to beat up those who called them to the feast!! We find that the king was quite upset about it and destroyed those who so treated his servants. He then went into out to find others who would come. The Parable was an interesting one and was probably told by Christ on numerous occasions in different settings. A variation on the theme can be found in Luke, Chapter 14:12ff. The king eventually goes and gets others to come to his feast. The parable is almost certainly meant, at least in part, to describe Israel in Christ's time and how they rejected him (and the future Marriage Supper of the Lamb - another part of Bible Prophecy) and even took to beating and killing his prophets. So he judged Israel and went to the Gentiles and invited them.
but few are chosen.
God calls many but that does not make them chosen and being chosen does not mean that they are always faithful. Faithfulness comes when we continue in the word of God and remain steadfast to our callings and what he has entrusted to us. One must fulfil all three traits to ride with Christ on that great day.
The last man standing gets to ride with the King of Kings and will be rewarded copiously by the Lord for whom we are willing to lay down our lives.
So I ask all of you here today, are you going to be faithful to the Lord? Are you going to be standing when the smoke clears, are you going to be one of the called, chosen and faithful? Are you going to ride with Christ when he comes again? If you are not, all the study on the mark of the beast, anti-Christ, ten kings and false prophet will not profit you one little bit. This too is part of Bible prophecy.
I think many if not all of you insiders (a small group of very dedicated believers here at Watson's Web) get it and will get in (praise the Lord!!). You know the cost, you know the times, you understand what the Lord expects of you. The key for us all now is to endure, keep on moving forward, don't stop, don't look back. Paul gives us these most relevant thoughts in his epistle to the Philippians. Here is what he said. It is both an exhortation and a warning at any spiritual smugness we might possess.
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrectionFYI the word apprehended here means attained or possess (G2638). Paul, who was an Apostle did not count himself as already 'made it' into the kingdom. No, he kept on pushing as though he still had a long way to go. This is the mindset we need to keep. Knowing that none of us deserves to obtain the resurrection of the dead, but that such a goal will only be reached by those who fulfil the three key traits listed - called, chosen and faithful.
of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were
already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may
apprehend that for which also I am apprehended
of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have
apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those
things which are behind, and reaching forth unto
those things which are before, I press toward the
mark for the prize of the high calling of God in
Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect,
be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded,
God shall reveal even this unto you.
Let us all stand firm and be ready for the enemies 'gunfire' and be like Clint Eastwood in those great spaghetti westerns and be the last man standing!!!