Stand Firm and You will Win Life.

Stand firm and you will win life. This instruction of Christ is more relevant in the 21st century than any other time in the history of the Church. Because, nowadays, believers are going through more challenges in their spiritual life than ever before and many are renouncing their faith and walking away from Christ.

Many who thought – living for Christ in this world is a cake-walk – have realized that: it is a tough journey; a journey through the narrow road and narrow gate.

But my question is – should this be a surprise for true followers of Christ?

Didn’t Christ warn us in advance about the road that we have to take in order to reach the homes that He has prepared for us in Heaven?

Remember, Christ, when He walked up on this planet earth, had warned us clearly about the challenges that we will have to go through for the sake of His Kingdom.

As you know, Matthew 24, Luke 21 and mark 13 talks very clearly about these challenges. But here, we will be focusing only on Luke 21. Let us examine this chapter to find out what Christ had taught us about the challenges that His disciples might go through in order to reach their ultimate destination.

5Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6“As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

7“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” 8He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.

9When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” 10Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

12“But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13And so you will bear testimony to me. 

14But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.

16You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17Everyone will hate you because of me. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19Stand firm, and you will win life. (Luke 21, 5-19)

What you see above is the response that Jesus gave to the comments His disciples made about the appearance of the magnificent Temple in Jerusalem. While prophesying the destruction of the temple; Lord Jesus also warns His disciples about the difficulties that they may have to go through for the sake of His name.

Let us examine some of these difficulties that Christ had warned the disciples about.

  • Believers will be persecuted by the rulers of this world.
  • Believers will be persecuted by religious authorities.
  • Believers will be thrown into prisons.
  • Believers will be brought before kings and governors.
  • Believers will be betrayed or killed even by their own family members.
  • Believers will be hated by everyone because of Christ.

I think the above list gives us a clear picture about the narrow road that each one of us have to take in order to reach Heaven.

Again, when we look at Matthew 10, we find a similar warning there too. Let us examine those verses.

16“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. 

18On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 

20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.21“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.

 22You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10, 16-23)

Here, the context is – Lord Jesus sending His 12 disciples to preach the Gospel to the lost sheep of Israel.  

Here too, as in Luke 21, Jesus warns his disciples about the kind of persecution that they may have to go through in order to preach the Gospel. Let us examine what they are.

In verse 21 He warns that: Brother will betray brother to death and father his child. Even children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Believers will be hated by everyone because of Christ. However, the one who stands firm till the end will be saved.

The nature of persecutions and sufferings that we see in both Luke 21 and Matthew 10 appear to be almost similar and both the descriptions end with identical reminders.

  • The one who stands firm till the end will be saved.
  • Stand Firm and You will Win Life.

Yes, the ones who stand firm till the end will be saved which also very clearly reminds us that -life as a true Christian will be really challenging. You will face challenges in all areas of your life.

It might be temptations resulting from the weakness of the flesh. It might be challenges and difficulties caused by your own family members, friends and colleagues; it might also be hardships caused by your fellow-believers who appear to be nice and kind. Anyway; the journey will be tough and many of you will find it very hard to keep going ahead till the end.

Here, I would also like to bring to your attention what Christ reminded us in Matthew 16.

24Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. (Matthew 16, 24-25)

Yes, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Saints, this is what Christ demand from each one of us and it might sound pretty tough; quite different from what your pastor had taught you, right? When you repeated your Pastor’s sinner’s prayer; you never expected that it is going to be this tough; right?

Saints; the journey as a Christian is a tough one. If you wish to follow Christ genuinely, then, you need to have a cross on your shoulder. This cross will be of different weights and sizes at times and they can come in different forms at different times.

They can be persecutions from those who hate Christ; they can be challenges thrown at you by your family members, relatives, friends and colleagues. They can also be issues related to your own personal life.

Anyway, they all ultimately will make your journey difficult; many of you might feel like giving up on the way. But Lord Jesus reminds us that:

  • The one who stands firm till the end will be saved.
  • Stand Firm and You will Win Life.

So, dear saints in Christ – you have set out on a journey that will ultimately lead you to your eternal home that Christ has prepared for you. Though the journey is tough, you should not give up. If you do not give up, as Apostle James and Paul spoke of, you will receive the crown that has been prepared for you.

12Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James,1, 12)

7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4, 7-8)

Stay Blessed.

 

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