Lessons Of A Lifetime

Sheep In The Midst Of Wolves
Enduring To The End
Sunday May 17, 2020

Scripture To Consider:
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.”

“But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”

“Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he [or she] who endures to the end will be saved.”            Matthew 10.16-22

Something To Consider:
Jesus said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.” Jesus has already warned His listeners in the Sermon on the Mount, of false prophets who will secretly enter into religious ruling positions wearing sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. The prophets Ezekiel and Zephaniah wrote about princes and judge’s ruling as wolves among the people.

Paul, in Acts 20.29, spoke of wolves among God’s people, saying, “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” The bottom line is that we are to beware of religious wolf-like leaders. Their agenda is to deceive and to devour. Their goal is the same as the devil, to steal, kill, and to destroy all who seek the righteousness of Christ.

Paul also acknowledged in Acts 20.30; “Also from among yourselves [fellow Christian believers] men will rise up, speaking perverse things [untrue, unbiblical things], to draw away the disciples [followers of Jesus] after themselves.” And with that said, Paul exhorted; “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”

Are we heeding the warnings of Jesus, Paul, and other biblical scribes? Are we warning others as they have warned us? According to Jesus, true believers in Jesus are as sheep in the midst of wolves. Will we be wise as serpents and harmless as doves as we approach end time events? Will we be found by Jesus enduring to the end or departing from the faith due to the external pressure that is to come to bear upon the true church and true Christian believers? We have been warned!

Something Else To Consider:
Do we fully understand that while we are in this world we are according to Jesus, living among wolves in sheep’s clothing? Do we also understand that wolves have infiltrated the leaderships of denominations and religious academic training institutions and churches, and are successfully deceiving the sheep of God’s pasture?

Or worse, do we realize this to be true, and instead, have we turned a deaf ear to the deception of the enemy and have chosen instead to do nothing in defense of the truth? This deception is stealing, killing, and destroying the foundational truth of the original intent of the Word of God. This infiltrated evil deception has forced a scriptural compromise and surrendering of true biblical values, and it must be exposed for what it is; pure deception!

Jesus Himself warned us to beware of these wolf-like leaders in sheep’s clothing, by declaring; “For they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues [places of worship]. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. And yes, this did happen to the early church in the 1st century as it has happened in other centuries down through the ages.

It is also true that this passage and others such as Mark chapter 13 and Matthew chapter 24, refer to the time of the end when according to Jesus, there will be great tribulation as has never before been and never shall be after. And Jesus in both Mark and Matthew speak of the betrayal of brothers, fathers, mothers, and children. Have we prepared our hearts and our homes for the coming of end time events? Now is the time to do so!

Mark mentioned in chapter 13, the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, which appears to usher in much end time tribulation and persecution from the Antichrist. But the point that must be understood is that many of these things did take place at the time of the early church. These very disciples of our text experienced the persecution spoken of by Jesus first hand.

And this wave of persecution has once again begun, and it will in time both imitate and surpass the persecution of the early church. Are we prepared for the coming tribulation that will be spearheaded by the abomination of desolation brought about by the Antichrist standing in the yet to be built Jewish temple in Jerusalem? Are we prepared to endure to the end of our lives or to the end of this age? Or will we be deceived and worship the Antichrist and or his beast-like earthly end time representative?

Something More To Consider:
Jesus summed up today’s Scripture to consider by declaring, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he [or she] who endure to the end will be saved.” The early disciples were hated, along with millions since them. Just this morning an email arrived detailing the Christian persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and in North India.

Wherever the light of the gospel shines forth and exposes the darkness, believers have been hated and have been and will continue to be persecuted. Wherever the illuminating light of the Word of God is carried it exposes evil practices and policies that have made people wealthy, powerful, wolf-like haters of the lovers of God and His Word.

Therefore, beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing, and with the help of the Holy Spirit, let us for Christ’s sake, endure to the end. What other recourse do we have? In John chapter 6, Jesus proclaimed; “It is the Spirit [the Holy Spirit of God] who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”

John reported in verse 66 and 67; “From that time many of His [Jesus’] disciples went back and walked with Jesus no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also want to go away?’ And in verse 68-69 Peter affirmed, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also, we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God.”

A Few Final Words:
Again, I must ask the question, what other recourse do we have? Will we go away from Jesus, or will we stand firm as sheep in the midst of wolves? Hopefully, we will choose to be hated for Christ’s sake and decide to endure to the end and thereby be saved from the much-deserved wrath of our Almighty God. It is a choice and a decision with eternal consequences with which we must make.

End time events will be difficult for the true born-again, standing firm for Jesus present tense believer. Let no false teachers or wolf-like religious leaders tell you or me different just because they want to keep their job and the financial income flowing in their direction. In the end, these religious wolves lording it over God’s sheep will flee as all hirelings do when perilous times come.

In the end, religious wolves will make their pact with the Antichrist and betray those they pretended to shepherd. Enduring to the end is an overcoming concept that according to Jesus, carries with it a promise of being saved. Who are you going to believe? And according to Jesus, “And you [end time enduring to the end present tense believer in Jesus] will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he [or she] who endures to the end will be saved.”

Our Father in heaven, teach us to bless those who curse us, and to do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who persecute us as we approach these end times. In Him Always, Amen!

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