December 28, 2021
And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another (Matthew 24:10).
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great Pastor/Preacher of London in the 1800s said, “By perseverance the snail reached the Ark.” Think of the adversity, the danger of being stepped on and crushed, the pressure of wanting to keep up with the others to get to safety, but the inability to do so. Yet they made it. Perseverance. Staying the course. Being faithful.
The story is told (whether true or not, I do not know) of a time and place where Christians were driven ‘underground’ and not permitted to worship or even read the Bible in public. On one occasion a group of Christians met in what they thought was a secret hiding place. There they had planned to quietly sing a few hymns, read passages of Scripture, pray together, and encourage one another in the Lord, just as they had done a number of times before. However, before the group could begin, the door to their hiding place was forced open and 3 men carrying automatic weapons stormed in. The leader shouted angrily, “We know this is a Christian meeting. Those who don’t want to die for your faith have one chance to leave.” A few individuals in the group ran out of the room, but the majority stayed put. Then leader then said as he laid down his weapon, “Now that the pretenders have left, we can worship our Lord in spirit and truth.”
Jesus said that in the days of persecution, prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, during the days of the Great Tribulation, and all periods in-between, there will be those who will defect. And then many will be offended simply means they will turn away from the faith. They will apostatize. They will renounce Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. These are not like Peter whose faith was weak at one point, but who rallied and even gave his life for Jesus in martyrdom. No. These are like Judas Iscariot who never was a believer to begin with. As John the Apostle wrote (1 John 2:18-19), Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
It is clear that they are not of the faith, for they will engage in hating the Christians and betraying them to the authorities. But Jesus said (Matthew 5:10-12), Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. True Christians don’t go looking for trouble, but when trouble comes, true Christians remain faithful.
“Holy Spirit, give us the courage and boldness to stand for Jesus no matter the cost. Keep our eyes focused on Him and not on those who hate Him. To His honor and glory I ask, Amen.”