Let’s continue today with our discussion of judgment.
The first judgment came because of Israel’s unwillingness to embrace the Savior. The second will come because of the nations’ unwillingness to embrace Jesus as the Christ, the one and only way to God the Father.
And though these verses include some of the judgments we all face here on earth, there will come a greater judgment. It will be a final judgment, of which Jesus Himself said He knows neither the day or the hour. But as surely as He said it, it will happen!
Jesus knew, because of Israel’s unbelief and our own, Satan would use many others to come and claim to be the Christ. But Jesus warned to not be deceived by such people. They are false, they are phonies, and the truth they teach is a lie. Don’t be deceived!
Signs of the Times
Jesus also told them that there would be wars and rumors of wars, but not to be alarmed. These things must happen in order for the end to come. Jesus predicted that nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There would also be famines and earthquakes, all of which go hand in hand (Matthew 24:8).
Jesus said all these are the beginning of birth pains. In other words, these things would happen in order to bring deliverance. Deliverance of good over evil. That which is holy over that which is not!
And many earthquakes did occur in Asia Minor in 61 AD, Italy in 62 AD, and also in Jerusalem in 67 AD. Matthew also mentioned one at the time of Jesus’s death (Matthew 27:51), and Luke in Philippi in Acts 16:26.
There was also a worldwide famine that occurred during the reign of Emperor Claudius around 46 AD (Acts 11:28). These things are still happening today.
As long as there is sin in our world, and until the last day, these things will continue to happen. There is nothing new under the sun. So they should not lead us to panic or lead us to place our faith in some political hope of deliverance.
Let us not place our faith in something or someone other than God Himself who rules and reigns in heaven above over all people and all things!
Yet Jesus also told them that they would pay a price for their allegiance to Him. Jesus predicted that they would be handed over to be persecuted. That, of course, did happen. Most were put to death because they associated themselves with Jesus and the cross and resurrection.
He said you will be hated by all nations because of Me. But He promised in verse 13 that those who stand firm to the end will be saved–saved to eternity!
That is the good news of the gospel in its entirety. Though we know we are not saved because we stand firm. Instead, we stand firm because we are saved!
God’s just judgment will fall on the wicked and save the righteous!
So the question is, are you ready? Are you counted among the righteous, not by any works of your own?
For there is no work except the work of Christ on the cross that can gain us entrance into heaven. Salvation comes by faith alone, in Christ alone, through His grace alone.
Have you experienced this life changing gift of God through Jesus Christ, His Son? If not, won’t you do so today? Won’t you make today the day of your salvation by accepting His free and indescribable gift of forgiveness? Won’t you be clothed in His righteousness and saved from your sin, Satan’s grip, and eternal destruction?
Steps to Assurance
Jesus also predicted that as a result of all of this chaos and upheaval, the Word of God would go out and be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations.
And then the end will come!
We see this happening today. The word of God is being spread to all nations. Churches send out missionaries to fulfill Jesus’s call in Matthew 28 to go out into all the world and share the truth of His Word!
And yet there is a cost to many who do this work. For some it will cost more than others.
It’s important to remember that persecution and martyrdom is still happening in our world today. Though not many of us here today will be murdered for our faith, there are many today who are. There are many in other countries who suffer daily, whether by persecution or death.
They risk and give their lives so that others might hear the word of God and receive the same gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
We are so blessed and so fortunate to have the Word of God freely in our hands, to sit here together in the open, not under cover. We can discuss what His Word says with each other. But many are not so fortunate, and yet they risk their lives to give it and others to receive it!
Since the beginning of time and to the end of time Christians will be hated by the world.
In fact, Jesus predicted an acceleration of such things–an acceleration in hatred, in persecutions, in murders. And He predicted that all nations will be involved, thus predicting worldwide chaos. Where those who were once true to one another will turn against one another and betray each other. He said that all peoples–husband and wives, parents and their children, and nations–will be torn apart because of lack of loyalty.
Yet Jesus said, even in all of this, stand firm and don’t give way to false hope in false doctrine!
And the way we do that is by:
- staying rooted and grounded in our relationship with Him
- the study of His Word
- coming together as the body of Christ
- encouraging each other, especially as we see these things and signs of the times approaching