Be on the Alert
“...be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming…” (Matthew 24:42)
In His Olivet Discourse recorded in Matthew 24-25, the Lord Jesus is teaching His disciples about the times of the end and about His return to judge the world.
In this time of the end, Jesus says the days will be marked by:
Ø Many False Messiahs and False Prophets that mislead MANY (v.5, 11)
Ø Wars and Rumors of Wars (v.6)
Ø People Group rising up against People Group (v. 7)
Ø Rulers/Kings against Rulers/Kings (v. 7)
Ø Famines (v. 7)
Ø Earthquakes (v. 7)
Ø Persecution of God’s People (v. 9)
Ø Many professing believers falling away -- even betraying and hating one another (v. 10)
Ø Increasing wickedness and lawlessness throughout society (v.12)
Ø With the increase of lawlessness (sin), people will become more and more self-absorbed and their love for others will grow cold (v. 12)
Are we seeing any of these things in our day! We sure are! There is so much unrest not just between rulers and nations – but between people groups! 2 Timothy 3 tells us that in the last days of difficult times, people will be “lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant…unholy, unloving…haters of good…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…”
There’s also no denying that the professing church is inundated with MANY false prophets, preachers and teachers – sadly, even in many evangelical churches.
The increase of lawlessness in every segment of society is astounding – especially man’s rebellion against God’s holy law. The persecution of God’s people is on the increase. Who would have ever thought that our neighbors to the north in Canada could be sentenced to 5 years in prison for preaching God’s Truth.
BUT, Jesus said – these days of turmoil will also be a time when the Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations (24:14)!
Jesus said: The one who endures to the end, it is he that will be saved (24:13)!
Jesus is not saying that by enduring to the end, someone earns eternal life. No, what He is saying is that evidence of being a true disciple that possesses eternal life from God is that their God-given faith endures to the end – even through adversity.
What is eternal life? In John 17:3, Jesus defines eternal life as knowing the only true GOD and Jesus Christ whom HE sent. No one earns eternal life. No man is justified before GOD by the works of the law, but rather by faith in Christ (Galatians 2:16). And GOD gives Believers in Jesus the gift of eternal life – the ability to KNOW HIM as well as power to live for HIM and serve HIM by the indwelling Holy Spirit – Who is also a gift! The Spirit is the Helper that gives us holy desires; that teaches us GOD’s Word; and that enables us to obey the Word and glorify GOD with a holy life – including the ability to endure trials and tribulations.
What does it mean to endure? It means to not turn away from the faith, but rather to hold fast to Christ with a firm desire and resolve to worship and glorify HIM in all circumstances. Jesus’ true disciples are always Watchful and Ready for His return (Matthew 25:1-13) as well as Faithful to serve, honor and glorify Him knowing that they will one day give an account of how they lived and served Him. (Matthew 25:14-30; Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10)
King Jesus knows who are His true disciples; and on His day of Judgment He will place His sheep (true disciples) on His right; and He will place on His left what He calls unsaved goats that profess to belong to Him but that He says have never truly known Him. (Matthew 25:31-46)
In Matthew 7:13-23, Jesus tells us that there are MANY on the broad road of religion that leads to destruction and only few on Christ’s narrow road that leads to life. Jesus Himself said that not everyone who says to Him, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven…that MANY will say to Him on the day of judgment: “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name cast out demons and in Your name perform many miracles?...yet He will declare to them, “I NEVER knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness”. These people are religious and busy, but they have believed a false gospel and have never been born of God and received His gracious gift of eternal life. It will be a tragic day when they hear these words, because there will be no fix. Today is the day of salvation. We cannot be saved after our death. (2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 9:27)
How can those who profess to be Christ’s disciples know if they truly belong to Him? Jesus told us in Matthew 24, that His true disciples will endure to the end – they will hold fast to Christ even in trials and tribulation.
We can also infer from Matthew 24, these Characteristics of Christ’s True Disciples:
Ø Will NOT be misled by false “christs” and false prophets. God’s people know the vital importance of renewing the mind daily in God’s Word! It is the lamp to our feet and light to our path so that we will not be led astray. (Psalm 119:105-112; Romans 12:2)
Ø Will NOT fear what is happening in the world because the LORD our God goes with us and will not leave or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6; Psalm 46)
Ø WILL be persecuted for faith. Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12)
Ø WILL endure and not fall away from faith or betray fellow believers (Matthew 10:22; Mark 13:13)
Ø WILL have stronger love for God, His people and even enemies because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:3-5)
Ø WILL understand the signs of the times and seek Divine wisdom for the Lord’s course of action. (1 Chronicles 12:32; Ephesians 5:17)
Ø WILL be on the alert, watchful, waiting and ready for Christ’s imminent return knowing that He is right at the door! (Matthew 24:44; Luke 21:34)
Ø WILL be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord -- Laboring in the fields of harvest until Christ’s return. (John 4:35; 1 Corinthians 15:58)
Dear Friends, we are living in the last days. False preachers and teachers abound, and a false gospel has infiltrated many churches. There are MANY on the broad road of destruction that need to hear GOD’s true Gospel and be saved. Our world has changed tremendously in the last two years. COVID has impacted lives as well as our way of life. Russia has invaded Ukraine. China threatens Taiwan…
The time is NOW for Christ’s true disciples to be intent on growing their faith. Yes, GOD does HIS sanctifying work in us, but we have responsibility too. We must be:
Ø Intentional in Growing and Maturing our faith because the people who know their God shall be strong and prevail for God (Daniel 11:32).
Ø Keep Watchful and be Fervent in Prayer (Matthew 26:41, Ephesians 6:18)
Ø Steadfast in the Study of Scripture. Through God’s Word, Believers are kept from doctrinal error and ungodly living and will not be easily led astray by false teaching (2 Peter 3:17).
Ø Heavenly Minded and not Earthly Bound (Colossians 3:2)
Ø Stop living according to the flesh; Get serious about getting rid of any known sin (Romans 8:12-13)
Ø Bold in Proclaiming God’s Gospel concerning Christ (Acts 4:29)
May God’s true Disciples live Aflame for Christ -- filled and fueled by His life -- and be a Light of Hope shining in the darkness – drawing souls to Christ and giving Him glory. To live is Christ!