In the book of Matthew, we can read about many of the events that will occur in the “time of the end”, previous to the return of Jesus Christ. Our elder Brother and Savior will, in full adherence to the plan that He and the Father have worked out, return to this earth and bring order and blessings to a world which will be on the verge of annihilating itself!
And we can be there with Him… if we endure.
After describing many of these end-time calamities, we read in Matthew 24:13: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
The very concept of “enduring” carries within it the idea of enduring ”something”. Many of the things listed in Matthew 24 have yet to occur – or have only begun to make themselves seen. So, do we have anything to endure yet? Yes we do! The things that we must endure presently are more of a personal nature. God is in the process of training ordinary human beings to be His servants – both now and in the future. Satan is in the process of doing all he can to stop God’s process. So there will be trials and tests in our lives.
Some of those trials may involve persecution – and that is something that comes from without. Though actual persecution, on a larger scale, for us is still future.
On the other hand, some of the trials and difficulties will come from within – whether it be false ministers and/or false brethren who might betray us, OR whether it be problems and trials which we bring upon ourselves through lack of adherence to or diligently living by God’s principles of life.
The Apostle Paul wrote the following to the young minister, Timothy: “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership” (1 Timothy 4:14). One verse later, he advises: “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (verse 16).
One of the pitfalls that we must be vigilant to avoid is neglect. Taking heed to the doctrines – whether we be minister or member – will lead to blessings and salvation. Conversely, neglecting the doctrines – getting lazy about studying God’s Word, failing to internalize lessons we should be learning – can very easily lead to a very poor spiritual condition. And a sustained, poor spiritual condition will lead to spiritual failure.
Whereas most of us would not be guilty of what is know in the legal world as “willful neglect”, it is entirely possible that we can unintentionally, yet insidiously, begin to neglect the study and application of God’s Word by becoming “weary in well doing” (2 Thessalonians 3:13).
In the book of Mark, we read about the Parable of the Sower. Mark speaks of seed sown on stony ground which did not have the root system to sustain life and therefore “endured only for a time” – in other words, they endured for only a short period and then died (Mark 4:16-17).
The book of Ephesians encourages us to be “rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17). In this passage, emphasis is given to living a godly life and staying close to our Father. We do this by studying His Word and meditating on the application of it in our own lives.
In the current coronavirus situation of 2020, it is easy to become weary. Some of you will have had to go through many restrictions and some others in different parts of the world might have had to endure strict lockdowns. It is all very wearying.
That makes it all the more important that we do not neglect the study and learning of God’s Word. For that is and will continue to be a major factor in our ability to “endure to the end.”