One of the obvious signs of the last days is lack of commitment. Jesus said it this way, “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:12 (ESV) The last days are known not just for sin or missing the mark; but for lifestyles of transgressions; that is, lifestyle of hurting others. That wickedness will be all around us and it will facilitate the purging of the church as the love of many will grow cold towards God and the ministry of others.
Things will get so bad that without a true relationship with God, the Sunday morning show will not be enough to keep people interested, even in a water down version of the Gospel. As we approach the last days, lets us remembers that Satan, who is the god of this secular world system, will have the world focused on worshipping the Antichrist. Everything secular will make it very clear that nothing that is of Jesus will be acceptable. As a matter of fact, anything that is of Jesus will be eliminated and, people will be punished and killed for their faith.
We must have an unshakable commitment to God and to our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. We must be willing to give our lives if it gets to that. We must follow Jesus without excuses because excuses will not be valid. In Luke 9:57-62 Jesus stated,
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesussaid to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (ESV)
- Following Jesus will challenge our Comfort Zone: Verses 57 and 58 represent the group that want to follow Jesus because of the benefits or because of what they can gain. Jesus, who knows our hearts, tells this particular group the magnitude of the sacrifice of following Jesus by stating, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” This is the cost of following Jesus; it will take us out of our comfort zones. Today’s days we have the prosperity Gospel; they are following somebody, but I guaranty you, is not Jesus. As soon as they are taken out of their comfort zone they will be gone. I believe we have seen some of that already in the last year and a half with the Corona virus purging.
- Family is important but is not an excuse over following Jesus and the preaching of the Gospel: In verse Like 9:59-60 Jesus starts calling his disciples and the first excuse that was given to him was “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” This represents family situations. In this case, in our average minds, the death of our own father is a good excuse to delay following Christ. However, Jesus did not accept that as a reason to delay following him. He responded, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.” Then Jesus says to that disciple who just lost his father, “But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Proclaiming the gospel to the lost is more important than any family commitment. This does not mean that we ignore our families, but family circumstances are not an excuse to get in the way of the preaching of the gospel. In Luke 9:61-62 Jesus deals with the same family concept. In this case the man wanted to go back and say farewell to his family. Jesus responded by stating, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Jesus knew this disciple was not coming back, he was placing family above Christ. These verses give us the urgency of following Jesus and the urgency of exercising our call. The Apostle Paul explained this concept further when he states,
This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away. 32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. 33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. I Corinthians 7:29-35 (ESV)
- Don’t miss the Kingdom over your job: In Matthew 16:26 Jesus tells us, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (ESV) Here, not only that Jesus establishes the value of our souls, but that we should not lose our souls over our ambition to make money. Capitalism places a whole lot of emphasis in making money; in this pursue folks sacrifices their families, but furthermore, they sacrifice the Kingdom. In Luke 14:15-20 Jesus tells us a parable to expand on this point,
“…Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many.17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ (ESV)
Many will split hell wide open over their jobs and careers. In Luke 14:21 Jesus responded to this group by stating, “So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.” Luke 14:21 (ESV)
I think that the time will come when we stop looking at evangelizing “Church Folks” and will go and bring in folks who are completely unchurched. After all, Jesus did not call Pharisees and Sadducees to be his disciples, he called men who were unqualify according to the world. People are comfortable in their version of Christianity, they don’t want to change, they don’t see the need to it. If the gospel offends you, if you don’t recognize your need for change, you don’t belong to God. Jesus said, “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Matthew 11:6 (ESV)
Many go to church on Sundays; they are experts in pretending, they put their mask on as if everything is perfect. The pastors don’t care, they are distracted with business and politics, focus on maintaining the building and keep money coming in. Nobody is really watching over the sheep. Nobody is watching over their souls: Their mindset, their decision-making, and emotions… just the way they like it, with no accountability, learning a gospel that goes according to what they like and accept, the gospel that satisfy their itching ears. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 4:3,
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, (ESV)
Beloved, what is your excuse?