I was encouraged this morning by Matthew 24:3-14…
“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”
And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. ” (Matthew 24:3–14, ESV)I don’t get the impression from this short passage that this life is just a bunch of feathers and pillows, but rather that things will get worse and worse.Many antichrists (verse 5), wars (verse 6), “hated by all” (verse 9), “many will fall away” (verse 10), “many false prophets” (verse 11), many “lead astray” (verse 11), “love of many will grow cold”, and yet there is the “one who endures”.There are so many “many’s” in this passage, and then, in verse 13, we zero in on the one…the one who endures.When I think of endurance, I think about a race and how usually in the beginning you don’t have to endure because you have all your energy, but it’s that last leg, when you are all out of energy, that you have to endure. The word endurance implies that things are hard; that things are pushing against you and you have to push through, and it’s tiring and it takes a lot of work! In this passage, it’s as if everyone is going one direction and the believer is going the other direction.And the reason why this is encouraging is because sometimes when I have to fight hard to love God and hate sin, when I have to fight hard to just bring my heart before the Word every morning, when I feel like things are difficult and I need endurance, I’m reminded here that the Christian life is a life of endurance! It’s like being in a race and asking, “Why is this so hard?” and then someone telling you that it’s hard because you are in a race.The Christian life is a war, it’s a race, it’s a battle. And these all require endurance.Finally, while there are many bad things that are happening in this passage, there is one good thing that is certain and that is that the “gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world…”!Many may fall away, but the gospel will be proclaimed in the whole world. There will be wars, but the gospel will be proclaimed in the whole world. Many will betray one another and hate one another, but the gospel will be proclaimed in the whole world! And I praise God that this gospel won’t stop until the end, and it didn’t stop before reaching me and saving me from my sins.