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After a couple weeks of addressing other issues, today I return to my review of the Olivet Discourse and what it may mean for Americans in 2010.
But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:13-14)
But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
In the verses just previous to these, Jesus told us that at the end of the age – which we surely are living in – there would be a great falling away, that many false prophets would arise, and that the love of most people would grow cold. These are the things we must endure in order to be saved.
- We must find our way through an anti-Christian culture, without falling away ourselves.
- We must hold to the truth, despite the popular, but erroneous, teachings of many who claim to be Christians.
- We must love.
Some tall orders, eh?
I could at this point pull various scriptures out of context as reminders that God is faithful (1 Cor 1:9); that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able (1 Cor 10:13); and that Jesus promised that no one will snatch us out of His hand (John 10:28-29).
But in this sermon, Jesus did not provide such reassurances and neither will I. The disciples asked Him what the End of the Age will be like, and Jesus gave them the unvarnished truth. He didn’t gloss over the difficulties they would have to face. I believe He was trying to prepare them, to encourage them to take these things seriously, so I will leave it as He did.
This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
This gospel. Some time ago, I noticed that Jesus didn’t say “the gospel.” If He’d said “the gospel,” we would think he was referring to the good news of His first coming and the salvation He made available to the whole world. But He said “this gospel,” and I have to believe that in this case, He was referring to all the things He had just said, all the difficult things, all the things that we’d really rather not hear.
In many churches today, you won’t hear “this gospel.” You won’t hear that Christianity entails suffering and sacrifice. You won’t hear that it comes at a price. What you’ll hear instead is how Jesus will make your life better and easier. I think that the preachers who appeal to the flesh in this fashion are generally not making true converts, but instead are deceiving people who will later become disillusioned and are probably part of the great “falling away” that Jesus warned us about.
But that’s just what I think. Be sure to check out the other WFW posts in Mr. Linky this week to see what other people think.