Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 | Author:

All Christian bloggers are invited to participate in the Word for Wednesday meme.  Click the WFW tab above for details. Even if you don’t post, your comments are very welcome.

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.

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6 Responses
  1. I think you are right on, Jean! Jesus never promised us that life — or for that matter, the end of the ages — would be a bouquet of roses. What He did say is that we would suffer, but if we endure, we will be saved; we will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (And it is sad that many pastors/preachers today don’t talk about this; we tend to skip over the parts that make us uncomfortable without considering the whole of Scripture.)

    It’s interesting that you mentioned this today, because my WFW this week centers on not looking back and how this applies to eternal life. I’ve been thinking a lot about “the falling away,” and it seems to me that the story of the rich young ruler fits well with this topic…

    http://defendchristianfaith.blogspot.com/2010/04/wfw-no-turning-back.html

  2. jon-paul says:

    Excellent Jean!

    And I quite agree with your assessment! This entire “feel good theology” that simply does not acknowledge what a Christian’s walk is like (based on Jesus’ word no less!) definitely go down in the ‘deceitful ‘schemers’ category.

    I have noticed as I am sure every Christian who knows — that those who espouse ‘everything is great and beautiful’ theology don’t tend to last long.

    Cheers,

    jps

  3. Jim Wetzel says:

    “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 … “

    Now, now … I hope you’re not implying anything unfavorable about Joel Osteen here! You know, he fills great big arenas all the time, so you know God has crowned his efforts with blessing and success, ’cause you know, nothing succeeds like success, and God helps those that help themselves, and … and … and …

    (Won’t somebody tickle my ears, please? And make it quick! I want My Best Life NOW!!!)

  4. Rebecca says:

    Mine’s late, but it’s up! It’s about end times, too…

    http://freakyfrugalite.com/wfw-this-is-getting-really-weird/

  5. Amen, Jean!

    I apologize for not participating in a couple of weeks; been running like a chicken with her head cut off!

  6. akagaga says:

    @Miss S If life is supposed to be a bouquet of roses – I’ve missed it! I’ll check out your post when I make the rounds, which hopefully will be very soon.

    @Jon-Paul those who espouse ‘everything is great and beautiful’ theology don’t tend to last long. Unfortunately, they tend to last long enough to deceive others, and misrepresent our Lord.

    @Jim I hope you’re not implying anything unfavorable about Joel Osteen here! Hah! Did I even mention his name? Or the many other names that I could list? No, I did not. Suffice it to say: The ear ticklers will give an account for the many who have been misled.

    @Rebecca On my way …