We continue to enjoy the Sunday School study in Revelation. We covered Revelation 7 today with visits to Daniel and Thessalonians.
After praise and worship our board chairman introduced our interim pastor who is a man who attended our church years back and has served as interim pastor at numerous churches.
Pastor Mark gave a great sermon titled “Will You Endure?” The sermon was centered on the scripture of Matthew 24:1-13. This talks about signs of the end times: much sorrow, much deception, despair, and lawlessness. Whether or not we are truly near the end times, Pastor (and others) believe that the worldly, evil spirit behind the end times is in the world today but still hindered by the Church of Christ followers.
We live in perilous times. Timothy 1:3. There is clearly a spiritual battle raging. Matthew 24:13 says “but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Are we prepared to endure? To finish the race?
The news around us talks of “the great resignation”. People in society are walking away from jobs and careers. This has always been part of church live too. Members get disillusioned, hurt or tired and they walk away or members fall into temptations and fall away.
When you see a pine tree growing up in a rock, don’t you wonder if it will endure?
Don’t let your faith become shipwrecked. As Paul admonished Timothy, we must endure hardness in life as a good soldier of Christ. Not giving up. Holding our ground. Remembering and trusting that God’s promises are faithful. His word is “Yes and Amen”. 2 Corinthians 1:20.
‘To the end’ has a two fold meaning: To the end of our own physical life and to the end of the age when the trumpet sounds.
Endure does not mean just putting up with the situation. It doesn’t mean we grumble and stick it out because of a commitment. It means we accept our positions as servants, serving with joy.
James 1:2-4 tells us to consider trials as joy, as the testing of our faith produces perseverance (endurance).
God intends for us to endure. Pastor shared three things to help us endure:
1. Be rooted. Every tree (and Christ follower) needs a proper root system. The roots not only serve as an anchor for the tree, but they provide a transportation system for nutrients to grow and stay strong.
In the parable of the sower we learn that the word of God that falls on hard soil or shallow soil doesn’t endure. Mark 4:16-17.
We have to be ready to stand when times are tough, not just while times are easy. We need to be like “oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3.
We need to endure with gladness and share the message of God’s salvation while there is still time. We need to embrace the Psalmist statement: I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Psalm 26:8 KJV. Stand firm. 1 Corinthians 15:58.
Our roots need to be deep and wide. We need to be rooted in faith and with thankfulness. “6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7.
2. Be Refreshed. Too many people are running on empty. We need a fresh touch each day. Trust in God.“7 But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream….” Jeremiah 17:5-8.
God’s strength is available to us. Not just as anointing rain (which is good), but from the flowing waters that never runs dry. Isaiah 12:2-3, Isaiah 44:3, Isaiah 58:11, Psalm 65:9, John 7:37.
The Holy Ghost is available for us every day. God is always there for you so don’t blame others. Seek delight in God’s flowing river. Psalm 36:37-39. Tap in.
3. Be Reminded. We need extra encouragement to endure. Remember what the Lord has already done, He will do again. 1 Samuel 17:34-37.
When the psalmist was troubled and despairing he questioned God but then said:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Psalm 77:10-12.
Remember…the blessings, the faithfulness, the works He has done in your life!
Don’t lose sight of God’s promises and His prior faithfulness.
God will do good things for those who are called for His purposes. Romans 8:28. He rewards those who persevere in doing good. Romans 2:7.
Even Jesus tells his disciples that he is with you always to the end. Matthew 28:20.
We need to be like the Baobab tree that can store 32 gallons of water. We have a river we need to stay tapped into. Press on.
Accept Christ and be saved, get roots. As believers, connect to the Holy Ghost.
Verses for Today:
Matthew 24:9-14 NIV
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Lord, I acknowledge that I do need to seek Your touch each day! Please help me be faithful to endure.