Summary: Ways to make sure you are ready, should the end times occur in our lifetime.
Standing Firm in the End Times (Part 2)
March 22, 2009
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
Me: I mentioned last week that when faced with a situation in which I’d lost my job, and bleak prospects for providing for my family, I was kinda scared.
Despairing, really, at least for a few hours, because I felt I had let my family down.
But God spoke to my heart during those dark hours, and reminded me of His care for me at what was at that point, the lowest valley I’d ever gone through.
I’ve had other low points since then, and even a few times when I’ve been lower than that time in Florida.
Losing two children to miscarriage, coming face to face with my short-comings, of which I have many, and a lot of other things have come to my family and me.
And I think I can say that if it hadn’t been for Christ in my life, I could have easily given up and allowed myself to be tossed around by my circumstances, living completely in despair, and never acting with the help of God to overcome those things.
And then I look at what Jesus says about the things to come, and I could very easily live in fear.
Standing firm, as Jesus mentions in this passage of Scripture, wouldn’t exactly be on my “to-do list” for those times.
We: I wonder how many here have been through times when you just weren’t sure you’d make it.
You don’t need to raise your hands, but I think I’m in good company today.
Many of you have faced situations that made you wonder if you’d really make it through.
And if it weren’t for God working in you to give you that strength you so desperately needed, you’d have given up.
And then you, like me, look at these words of Jesus and you think, “God, will it ever get any better for me? How will I ever be able to meet the challenge of living for You in a world that hates you so much?”
Today, I hope to give you some stuff that will encourage you, especially in terms of standing firm for Jesus in the end times, but also for those times when life is just too much to bear.
Matthew 24:9-14 (p. 701) –
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 he 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.
Last week we talked about these five indications that the end times were on their way, and spent some time on each of them, but today the main thing I want to discuss is verse 13 –
“… but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
In the midst of all this stuff, our job is to stand firm.
That’s easy to say, and I could say, “Let’s pray” and then send you on home.
I want to talk about just how to stand firm. I’d like to share four strategies that we can implement into our lives that can help us stand firm when the hard times come.
And I’m not just talking about if the end times come in our lifetimes, but really, these are things that are applicable right now, in whatever situation you find yourself.
So while my comments will be geared specifically to the end times, keep in mind that this isn’t just “end times” stuff, it’s “all the time stuff.”
1. Be aware of what’s to come.
That was the main emphasis of last week’s message.
I love the fact that Jesus lays it out for us in Scripture.
No believer should be caught unaware of what is coming. It’s all in here. Natural disasters, famine, war, persecution, the whole bit.
No one should be able to say, “What? Persecution? What do I do? I didn’t get the memo!”
The real value of having this information is that it gives us power over fear.
Fear of the unknown is a huge deal for most people. It can paralyze us and drive us to despair.
But the Scriptures tell us what’s coming, and even how to handle it.
So we don’t have to suffer from fear of the unknown.