Rooted and Grounded in Faith

May 23, 2016

Matthew 24:4-25

4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains. 

9″Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. 

15″So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.

Rooted and Grounded in Faith

If I was an enemy who had captured you and you were a loyal and dedicated citizen to your country, how would I turn you against your country?  Initially, I know that you will have walls of dedication and faith in what your country stands for.  What I will do is to begin to undermine those defensive walls of your loyal city.  I will create in you doubt about what you believe in and what you stand for.  I will try and convince you little by little and day by day that what you believe is a lie and what I have is the truth.  I may torture you and persecute you, belittle you, threaten you or your family.  I will rob you of self-worth, esteem and dignity.  I will torment you, badger you and pour into you information counter to what you have always believed and embraced.  I will convince you that your country doesn’t care about you any more.  They have forgotten and forsaken you.  You owe them nothing.  They are a lie and a sham.  Over time, even the strongest can be worn down.  

We must understand that we are in a spiritual warfare.  When we are at peace and all is going well it easy for us to live our faith and praise our God, but what about when all of hell is brought to bear against us?  What about when we go through agonizing trials for extended periods of time with no deliverance or release?  What about when it seems the heavens are as brass and our cries are not heard?  What about when our faith costs us everything, our possessions, our jobs, our position, our finances, our family and even our life?  We in the United States have experienced little of this in our life times, but if and when it comes do you have the relationship with your God to stand in the faith that you say that you possess?  When others are performing miracles, speaking great words of peace and wisdom will you be so sure that your beliefs are right?  Perhaps you have put your faith in the wrong person and the wrong religion, after all, can all of those other religions be wrong and yours is right?  Do you honestly think that God is so narrow He could only have “one way”?  

I bring our faith into question today, because we are naïve if we think that it will not be sorely tried and tested.  This is why even Jesus says that the love of many will wax cold and many will turn away.  You will be betrayed by those that you love and trusted.  Mark 13: 22 Jesus says, “For false Christ’s and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were] possible, even the elect.”  

We would like to believe that things would always continue as they have been, but I believe that a great many changes are on the horizon.  This is why I believe God is so urgently exhorting us to come to know Him in an intimate relationship, as we never have before.  His life in us is the only thing that can sustain us as this hour comes upon us.  We must know that we know that we know that He is the Christ and that He now is and always will be our only life.  Sunday school teaching and church going isn’t going to be what enables us to stand.  We must be radical in our faith and how we embrace our God.  Many of us have gone through many trials and testings already with health, relationships, finances and other things that have tested the fabric of our faith.  These have been to help prepare us.  As we read through the Old Testament you will see story after story of saints, patriarchs, prophets and men of God that went through some very trying times.  We have the advantage of reading the ending, but when these men and women were walking out their faith they didn’t have that advantage.  All they had was their faith and trust that they had to hold tenaciously onto.  When we read Revelation we read the end of the story and we know that we win, but don’t think that the enemy will not come in like  a flood to try and make you lose sight of your hope and your faith.  He will be like that interrogator that will use every means to undermine and destroy your faith and rob you of your hope.  We must be strong in the power of His might, putting on the whole armor of God.  Ephesians 6:10-18 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  We are about to engage the enemy as never before, so ready yourself for the battle.   

Let us come into agreement and receive the Spirit anointed prayer that Paul prays in Ephesians 3:14-20, “14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”



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