Take a moment to use your imagination and ponder the following circumstance:
You have decided to enter into your country’s military to serve in active warfare against a formidable foe. The enemy who you are battling against has declared war on your country and everything that it stands for. As a citizen, you recognize that you have a personal obligation to stand and fight this foe. So, you join the campaign to stand against the enemy. Realizing that casualties are occurring and that you are in danger of losing everything, you are determined to battle against the enemy. Regardless of the threats or the actual deaths that you see, you fight because you know what the cause is for. Even when many around you fall and it seems that the enemy is winning the war, you fight. The call of duty is a call that you have answered despite the challenges or the climate of the war.
In reality, all of humanity is involved in a war. The war that we all participate in is one that isn’t against human flesh but against the principalities and rulers of darkness according to Ephesians 6:12. Whether you are fighting on the side of God and His righteousness, or you have given into the shameful lusts and sins of the world, you are in a battle. However, the side that will always win and defy the odds, is the side that is affiliated with Jesus Christ.
In a well-known passage of Matthew 24, Jesus is teaching His disciples about the signs of the end times. Throughout this chapter, signs include much of what we are seeing today, (e.g. Earthquakes, wars, pestilences, an increase in sinfulness). However, Jesus makes an important statement that ties into the current structure of our society:
After Jesus mentions the beginning signs of the end of days He says in verses 9-13:
(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.”
The first thing to examine in this scripture is the increase in persecution concerning Christians. While historically, Christians have been persecuted for centuries, it is the rapid escalation of persecution that will occur just before Jesus Christ returns. If you look at our society today, Christians are being persecuted around the world much more than in times past. There will come a day (even in America) in which Christians will experience persecution for not capitulating with the order of society. Notice what Jesus says in verse 10 when He says that “many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”
Various studies and trends are actually pointing to a growing majority that are no longer identifying with the Christian faith. It isn’t just the fact that many are no longer attending church services. The projection is that many are deciding not to affiliate with Jesus Christ and God. Basically, many are now adopting the secular humanist mindset and forsaking the things of God altogether. This is the very thing that Jesus said would happen in the last days, and it is happening now. We are experiencing the “Great falling away” as 2 Thessalonians 2:3 mentions. The time of rampant wickedness is the time that we are living in.
If you look further in Matthew 9-13, you will see the words, “false prophets.” This is meant to denote those who speak against God’s truth and entice those who are willing to listen, to believe the lies that satan has put forth. Looking at the constant push for the acceptance of homosexuality and even the transgender lifestyle, many in our world are falling for the lies that satan is pushing. Now, there are many who are seeking to indoctrinate young children to believe that it is perfectly normal for two individuals of the same sex to get married. Even children are now being taught that you can change the gender you were born as. Essentially, what satan is doing is actively pursuing young children, because he knows that they will perpetuate the next generations. If he is successful in distorting God’s order, then the next generations will reap chaos and confusion.
As Jesus said, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” which is what is happening in our world today. Regardless of what sins are approved of, anything that goes against God’s decrees and His design will always bring with it negative consequences. However, Jesus offers an encouraging statement in the latter part of verse 13 which says, “but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
This is meant to be for those who have decided to follow after God by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Even if our world continues to decay and the effects of sin worsen, those who are willing to take a stand for God will be saved. However, Jesus offers more hope in verse 22 when He says, (NLT) “In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.”
What Jesus is alluding to is the entire theme of Matthew 24, which is that the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ is imminent. Verse 22 only confirms that time continues to shorten, so that those who are chosen of God and will choose Him in the pardon of their sins, will be able to survive. Think about it in this context – if violence and various types of tragedies continued without an end, then humanity would always suffer in anguish. At some point, God promises to put an end to all of the chaos, by setting up His Kingdom on the Earth. Of course, those who choose to reject Him both now and in the future, will be addressed justly – however, the end of the world as we know it must happen, but only in God’s timing.
The main point that we should take away from this message is that only those who are willing to stand will be saved in the end. Our world is constantly pushing sinfulness and conformity to every image that is against God’s design. Many have decided not to take a stand but to remain silent due to fearfulness, and not wanting to be marginalized by society. Jesus Christ did not die so that you and I would perish, but He died and rose again so that you and I could experience eternal life. That is something that is worth standing for.
Regardless of what the media and even those in your life may try to suggest is “acceptable” and the “right way to live”, God’s truth does not change. His truths are immutable and they are concrete. The world sinks lower and lower into chaos, because of humanity’s insistence on rebellion against God. However, those who are willing to take a stand will be saved and will receive the reward of everlasting life.
Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? If not, you have an opportunity to receive Him in the pardon of your sins. Our world will not get better but worse. Instead of wondering how you can get through our social and even economic climate on your own, the one and True God is there and He is willing to help you. For those of us who are in Christ, stand firm in the faith and stand up for God’s righteousness. Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for all, and by rejecting the sinfulness of our world and speaking up, we are proving that Christ’s sacrifice was not in vain. So, like a soldier who fights in a war, stand and fight the good fight of faith.