Jesus said to pray watch, be ready, stay alert, and stay sober because the day of great tribulation is coming. Many will be deceived, even the elect (aka best of the best Christians). Many will fall away and their love will grow cold. We will be hated and betrayed as wars, natural disasters and sin are all at the highest peak they’ve ever been in human history. But those who endure to the end will be saved. Matthew 24 makes all this really clear. After every tribe and tongue and people have heard the Gospel, THEN Jesus will come back. After we’ve been handed over for torture, our houses and families ravaged, and our faith put to the test to the utmost, THEN He will gather His people with a trumpet blast. His Bride will be purified, all gray lines will disappear, and everything that can be shaken—will be shaken.
Peter urges us that if all this is true, we should consider what kind of people we should be. How should we live? Consecrated and holy, found by Him without offense, knowing that His delay in coming is actually Him being long-suffering and giving people a chance at salvation. Like Jesus said, Peter restates, “BE ON YOUR GUARD lest you fall away and lose faith.”
Why would they say that? Why is that so important? Jesus isn’t coming back for a while right? Back to Matthew 24—the truth is that whenever He does come, the great amount of sin, natural disasters, betrayals, wars, corruption and destruction will make the love of many grow cold. Many. Aka Christians firey for God will. grow. cold. Dead cold. It’s called “the great falling away.” Many who loved Jesus will turn away. Betraying one another for earthly comfort or gains or simply because they don’t understand why He’s letting these awful things happen and are offended with God.
So what? Well… if you’re alive on the planet right now, Jesus’ and Pauls and Peter’s and everyone else’s words in the Bible apply to you and they’re all urging you to BE READY. You don’t know when He’s coming, though there are signs to His coming, and unless you’ve been working on being alert and ready for years, chances are that you’re not. Chances are that I’m not just talking to myself.
Jesus said to prepare the way of the Lord, which means get people ready for the day He’s coming back. So I’m going to tell it like it is. Unfortunately, in order for the perfect Kingdom of God to be established and Jesus to bring justice and make all wrong things right, He has to bring judgement. There will be destruction. Judgement of the ungodly. Kingdoms and people that are hostile to His leadership will be dealt with. It’s going to happen. And ALL NATIONS will hate Christians enough to kill them. That’s the Bible. Jesus even says that all these things He’s describing are necessary and must take place. “But take heart because I’ve overcome the world. See to it that you’re not troubled.” There’s reasons to hope and believe that one day all wrong things will be made right. Will we suffer? Yes. Will He forsake us? No.
All these truths matter right now. Today. In our lives. If I can’t handle little baby offenses when someone wrongs me or makes me mad, how in the world am I going to still love Jesus when my family betrays me or kids are killed because I’m a Christian??!! Chances are I won’t. This is why He tells us the basics of His kingdom are to forgive your enemies! You’re going to have to love and forgive in order to make it and live like Him when the crap hits the fan. He says we have to stay unoffended, watch and be ready. Because if you’re not, guess what? You’ll be one of the elect that’s deceived, falls away, or is unoffended. Meaning you won’t endure to the end.
I don’t know about you but this freaking intense reality as described by Jesus makes me want to start getting ready. Help me Lord! I want to be unoffended NOW. I want to lay down my life, not try to preserve it, while persecution is minimal. I want to know Jesus as the Judge of the Nations, so that when He comes to judge the nations, including mine, that I love Him. I want to be able to say that all His judgements are perfect and right. He’s coming back as a LION, with fire in His eyes, to kick butt and take names to set everything right again. I want to know Him this way now so I’m not surprised and turn away on that day. He’s 100% love AND 100% holy and just. And the day He comes back is coming.
Even if all I have is taken, family is killed, I’m tortured, and life as I know it is ripped from my hands, I want to say Jesus is my prize, heaven is my home, and He will never forsake me. I want to know the Word, love truth, not be deceived and have the oil of intimacy so that I’m found ready. So my prayer is that you and I hold this world and all its false comforts lightly, let nothing keep us from laying down our lives, stay unoffended and love Jesus to the end no matter what. What profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?