As we heard last week, we are in the last days. Therefore, we need to prepare for the future. If we don’t prepare, we won’t be able to stand against everything that will come against us. We are God’s chosen people, to be saved and to prepare for the future.
1. Listen to What Jesus Says and Do Not Be Deceived
“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand”, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Mark 13:14)
“…And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator” (Daniel 9:27)
The abomination referred to in the scripture is people against God. Specifically, he referred to the eagle, which was the symbol of Rome. Later, just as Jesus warned, Titus takes over Rome and kills 1 million Jews. In these last days, what must we be wary of? The antichrist. People claim they know when the end will come. However, God does not want us to focus on what day or time the end will be, or focus on the antichrist, for Jesus says many will claim they are the Christ.
Instead, hold on to the words of Jesus Christ and be on guard. Why? Because our enemy, Satan, is alive and working, attacking Christians, deceiving them so they cannot know or enjoy Christ and be used by God. He deceives our thoughts and heart, but Satan cannot touch us, because Jesus completely crushed the head of Satan. Let’s be on guard and be deceived no longer. All we need to do is believe Christ finished everything on the cross, and actions will follow, but Christians focus so much on the actions, on good works. So many of us have received Christ, but can’t enjoy him, because Satan continues to deceive us. Satan has deceived us so much our priorities are messed up. Everything seems so much more important than Christ. Satan works so that we live for ourselves and makes the gospel so vague. Let’s hold onto the covenant, and stand with assurance. Let’s put on the full armor of Christ, by holding on to the word and God’s covenant so we can engage in the spiritual battle where God has guaranteed victory.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Mark 13:31)
2. Do Not Be Afraid of Sufferings
“And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.” (Mark 13:20)
Jesus says without a doubt, there will be sufferings. However, Jesus gives us assurance of immanuel and God’s plan even in the midst of suffering. God demonstrated that he loves us. Therefore, let’s not be afraid. Instead, let’s enter into the flow of God’s word, where there is true life, light and answers. So many of us have listened to so many messages but are we confirming and experiencing God’s word for ourselves? All guidance and answers are in the word of God. Let’s hold onto God’s promises and not be afraid of suffering. In the face of persecution, God will give us strength to be his witnesses.
3. Be Spiritually Prepared
Just like we know when summer is coming by looking at a tree’s branches, we know the end times are coming by seeing the signs. How do we get ready? God doesn’t want us to drop and give up everything, whether work or school. Instead, let’s prepare by focusing on our spiritual state. We don’t know when Jesus will return, but am I enjoying God’s word, prayer and evangelism everyday? As we maintain our spiritual state, and enjoy Christ, God will connect us to the world.
“It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake.” (Mark 13:34)
What is our responsibility? To use the talents God gave us and stand as witnesses in the fields God has placed us. Spiritually, are we asleep or awake? Are my eyes opened to see the spiritual state of the world, and how God is working? Or are we spiritually numb and can only focus on ourselves. In the end times, let’s focus on our spiritual state and the church, that it may be a church where God’s holy spirit works.
“And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” (Mark 13: 37)