My family and I live in the shadow of Mount Somau in Madang Province, Papua New Guinea. While remote by most of the world’s standards, we still have access to cellular service, however slow it is in comparison with Western standards. It is still fast enough to allow us to download news on our phones, though I’m not always sure that is such a great thing.
Charles Spurgeon once said that a preacher should hold the newspaper in one hand and a Bible in the other. Perhaps. The perceptive reader will do so to connect the dots between the predictions of the New Testament and the fulfillment of those predictions today. Indeed, Paul wrote to Timothy that there would come terrible times in the last days.
The sensitive follower of Jesus is distressed by the unspeakable nature of what the world embraces as not only normal, but laudable. We should ask the question, as Francis Schaeffer once famously did, “How then shall we live?”
Jesus spoke at length about both the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of days. Consider what he prophesies as recorded in Matthew 24:9-13: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
God’s people have been persecuted, threatened, opposed, hated, and murdered for millennia. Our end might be martyrdom or imprisonment. We might be cast out of society and despised. Whatever form persecution takes, Jesus warns that the increase in wickedness will threaten our ability to love one another, let alone the lost. We will be tempted to fall away, but endure we must. We dare not yield to the pressure our enemy exerts to overwhelm, discourage, destroy and silence us.
From Mount Somau springs forth a stream that flows from the heights to the bottom of the mountain. As it flows down the steep slopes, it flows over and around scores of enormous boulders that determine where its course. Rain or dry the boulders rarely move.
Our role in society must be like those boulders. While society flows into greater dissipation, we must remain unmovable in our convictions, loyalty to the Father, and commitment to endure to the end. We must withstand the torrent in love.
Is it possible? If so, what reward is there for the conqueror?
- “The one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7)
- “To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17)
- “To the one who conquers and who keeps my word until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations . . .” (Revelation 2:26)
- “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” (Revelation 3:5)
- “The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.” (Revelation 3:12-13)
- “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Revelation 3:21)