“YET THROUGH IT ALL, this joyful assurance of the realm of heaven’s kingdom will be proclaimed all over the world, providing every nation with a demonstration of the reality of God. And after this the end of this age will arrive.” Matthew 24:14 TPT
I know we keep beginning with this verse, but as believers we need to make sure we are not hoodwinked into believing we have no part to play during these last days. As we discussed last week, even Christians can be deceived. However, we can endure through it all—to the end, by remaining steadfast and secure in Christ. This will only happen if we are proactive in our assignment.
Jesus mentioned more about these trials we will face just before this verse. I think it is important to draw our attention to these verses as well. Just like the verses from last week, these show that we can be deceived into believing that we have a right to respond to trials however we want to—even if this is contrary to our new nature in Christ.
“And then MANY WILL BE OFFENDED, will BETRAY one another, and will HATE one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and DECEIVE many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, THE LOVE OF MANY WILL GROW COLD.” Matthew 24:10-12
As you were reading this, you probably began to think about and compare this verse to the culture in which we live. Sound familiar? Offense, betrayal, hate, not much love—sound like a society you know well? I mean, we might have some acquaintances in our circle of relationships but real love? Real love? You know—the 1 Corinthians 13 type of love?
Yes, we can really see these sinful characteristics and behaviors in others, but what about in us?
How often are we offended?
Let’s start at home. What about when your spouse does not respond to something the way you wanted them to? How do you react? Maybe…explode? Maybe pop off with a little “dig” at them. Maybe the silent treatment? I mean, really anyone of those responses is fair game, right? We have the right to respond that way—because if they don’t know they offended us, how else will they learn to treat us right in the future?
Even the workplace is a good playing field. You know, especially when the boss offends you. Maybe he/she makes a dig at you in a meeting or even in private. Or you just don’t like the way he/she manages. Perhaps something about them just kind of gets under your skin. How do you react? Do you spend the next 3 days to trying to get everyone to side with you? Do you want them to see what you see in your boss? Because by all means—you are the only one that is right—especially if you have a crew that agrees with you.
What about at church?
No, you’re right, you’re right. That would never happen in the church…
Here’s the problem with responding the way that we usually do to all of these things—the natural way: we only perform and behave and emulate to the level of how the other person is treating us. On a deeper level this means that that person is actually in control of our feelings and basically, our lives. We then become a slave to others. By deception, we believe we are actually rising up and showing them who the boss really is. Yet all we have done is stooped below who we were created to be and allowed ourselves to come into bondage without knowledge of its control.
This is not freedom in Christ. This is not our new nature. This is one of the reasons that Christ came to redeem us and put us back to our intended nature—created in His image. Think about the garden when Adam sinned and death entered. What was the death? Because we know he didn’t just fall over right then. So, we say that it was a spiritual death. Well, what does that mean? It means that he died to the image he was created in. I mean Jesus said, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
What was lost? The image we were created in. Jesus modeled it for us. Showed us what that image should look like. This is why He tells Nicodemus that he must be born again, meaning born of a new nature. (John 3)
Think about it. How many times did you see Jesus getting offended? I mean, He invested in twelve guys for over 3 years, and then they bail on Him. Or how about the fact that Jesus heals many and does countless miracles among them (John 21:25), and then they shout crucify! Do you see Jesus talking to the father, complaining, and saying, “Are you serious God?! They are not getting it! They don’t deserve for me to die on the cross for them!”
No, He didn’t. Why? It wasn’t just because He was Jesus. It was because He is love (1 John 4).
Love is what HE IS. He is LOVE. It is not just a quality but WHO HE IS.
So, what does this have to do with us? We are told that becoming love is our main goal.
“Now the PURPOSE of the commandment IS LOVE from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5
Our goal, our aim, is love. In fact, 1 Corinthians 13 says that we can accomplish many mighty things, including miracles, but if we have not love—we accomplish nothing. Nothing.
We are called to this.
“Beloved, let us LOVE ONE ANOTHER, for LOVE IS OF GOD; and EVERYONE WHO LOVES is BORN of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for GOD IS LOVE. 9 In this THE LOVE OF GOD WAS MANIFESTED TOWARD US, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that WE MIGHT LIVE THROUGH HIM. 10 IN THIS IS LOVE, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if GOD SO LOVE US, we also ought to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. 12 No one has seen God at any time. IF WE LOVE ONE ANOTHER, GOD ABIDES IN US, and HIS LOVE HAS BEEN PERFECTED IN US. 13 BY THIS WE KNOW THAT WE ABIDE IN HIM, and HE IN US, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, GOD ABIDES IN HIM, and HE IN GOD. 16 And we have known and BELIEVED THE LOVE that God has for us. GOD IS LOVE, and HE WHO ABIDES IN LOVE ABIDES IN GOD, and GOD IN HIM.” 1 John 4:8-16
This is what Jesus prayed for you just before He was crucified…
“I DO NOT pray that You should TAKE THEM OUT OF THIS WORLD but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 AS YOU SENT ME INTO THE WORLD, I ALSO HAVE SENT THEM INTO THE WORLD. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. 20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they ALL MAY BE ONE, AS YOU, FATHER, ARE IN ME, AND I IN YOU; THAT THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, THAT THEY MANY BE ONE JUST AS WE ARE ONE: 23 I IN THEM, and YOU IN ME; that they may be made PERFECT IN ONE, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:15-23
Sounds a lot different than just saying we need to say a simple prayer so we can go to heaven. I mean, who wants to burn forever? And this is all I have to do to make sure? This is like sharing a new insurance plan.
NO! He paid the ultimate price so that I can be IN Him and He IN me.
To save that which was lost. Our original image. The image we bear is love.
Since the day Adam sinned, mankind has needed love because man was cut off from the source. Since then we have needed the assurance and love of others to make us feel secure. But when we get saved, we come into a relationship with Abba, and we become one with His spirit. Then we have a new identity—an identity that is back to the original image. Love.
Look at the many other verses that confirm this new identity.
“And if Christ is IN YOU, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” Romans 8:10
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone IN OUR HEARTS to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-7
“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, 16 TO REVEAL HIS SON IN ME, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,” Galatians 1:15-16
“I have been crucified WITH CHRIST; IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVE, BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME; and THE LIFE WHICH I NOW LIVE in the flesh I live by faith IN the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is FORMED IN YOU,” Galatians 4:19
“that Christ may DWELL IN your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,” Ephesians 3:17
“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY.” Colossians 1:27
In the last article, I pointed out a very important verse for these days in which we are living. The book of Proverbs tells us to make sure we get understanding above all else. When we come to understand what Christ came to redeem and change us to become like Him—then we will shine as light in a dark world. This will not only revolutionize our lives but the lives around us as well.
Get understanding and don’t carry the offense. Jesus nailed it to the cross, so why carry it anymore?