The Lord Jesus Christ one day while he was teaching asked a vitally important question. This question is almost too easily overlooked because of the way that it came forth. His question arose at the end of his teaching. He was telling a parable of the importance of persevering in faith, in earnest prayer, of how we need to be those who learn the power of and value of our praying through until we have what we are seeking the Lord. For in Spirit and Truth, He is willing, just and ready to answer our prayers. As the Lord was finished sharing his brief parable, suddenly, almost as a passing thought Jesus says, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 ESV)
Will we as believers persevere in faithful prayer, in genuine faith, while waiting for the Lord’s return? Or will we give up and walk away, throwing in the towel, turning around and no longer walking in the faith, hope and love of the Lord Jesus Christ?
We live in crucial times with rapidly accelerating darkness and sin all around us. We live in a time that all too quickly approaches, what the Word of God refers to as the time of The Rebellion, The Apostasy, The Great Falling Away.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 (ESV) Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
This time of apostasy includes a great turning away, a departing from the faith, as seen here in First Timothy.
1 Timothy 4:1 (ESV) Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
They will apostatize, that is, deny the essential doctrines of the faith, of Orthodox Christianity, of God’s Written and Holy Word of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It will be a time when according to the Lord Jesus Christ as stated in Matthew 24:12 (ESV), it will be a time or season wherein “… because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”
This lawlessness will be revealed in a time in which things will become all turned around and upside down.
Isaiah 5:20-24 (ESV) Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! 22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, 23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right! 24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Not only will there be all of the above, but on top of this there will also be the mockery that comes forth because of the seeming delay of the Lord’s coming. It is in the Epistle of Peter that read about this:
2 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV) knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
All of this paints a terrible time of pressure and tribulation that will come upon the world and indeed the true church, the people of God. The question becomes far more vital and significant as we see this day readily approaching us with exponential speed and an almost urgency by the world concerning its arrival.
What shall we do? How shall we respond? Will we take heed to the warning that the Lord Jesus Christ gave his disciples on the night He was betrayed?
Matthew 26:41 (ESV) Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Yes, we need to watch and pray, lest we also enter into the temptation to lose or simply give up on and surrender our faith, hope and love. If we do not find ourselves in this vital position of steadfast watching, waiting and prayer, in and before the Lord Jesus Christ, we may find ourselves even as the disciples did.
Matthew 26:45-46 (ESV) Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
We need to realize that those who, in these last days, do in fact lose their faith (in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word), hope (that confident expectation and anticipation of His returning), and love (the heart and spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ for His own and for those whom he has died for), will in every sense of the word, be betraying the Lord Jesus Christ, again.
The question is, will we be even as the disciples, who in their fatigue and ignorance have fallen asleep, thus having failed to discern the immediacy of the time only to awaken, and discover that it is too late to get ready, for the time is already upon us? The time had suddenly come and there was indeed no more time to prepare. They were suddenly cast into the thick of the moment that they had been warned to prepare for, but alas they had failed to do so. The result was that they simply all ran away, they departed, they slipped away into the darkness and hid. Will we be as those who were not ready, not having sufficient spiritual oil of the Spirit of God’s grace and faith to let the light of the Lord Jesus Christ continue to burn brightly in and through our lives, even well into the nighttime, until the actual coming of the Bridegroom?
Rest assured, there will be a great falling away and indeed we see it all around us beginning even now. There will be a great rebellion in the ranks of the professing Body of Christ. There is will be a time and it ever so quickly approaches us even now, when everything turns upside down, when right is wrong and wrong is right.
So, the question is, where will we find ourselves in and through all of this? Will we be of those who fall away, who simply give up, turning our backs on the faith we once so proudly and confidently professed? Will we be like Peter who swore to never betray the Lord, to even die for and with Him, yet to only within hours of saying these bold promises, betrayed him not once, not twice, but three times before the rooster crowed announcing a new day?
Will we be in such denial of our own personal weaknesses and frailties that we falsely and pridefully assume that while everyone else may fall away, we for sure will not be one of those? I pray we are not. I know what it is to fail the Lord in faith. I have turned my back on the Lord Jesus Christ and walked away before. I know that apart from the mercy and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, I could be one of those who rebel and walk away out of some sort of self-preservation, frustration or great fear and lack of remaining faith. This is why I throw myself at my Lord’s feet, crying out for his mercy, grace, strength and power, that I might not be one who ever again betrays our Lord and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. I desperately look to him as the only hope for my/our remaining strong, persevering, and tenaciously in His faith, hope and love until the end or at the least until my end.
We must become those who watch and pray, lest we fall into temptation, for our Spirit is willing but our flesh is oh so very weak. May we become as those who have discovered the power of waiting upon the Lord Jesus Christ in prayer, in watchfulness, in faith, hope and love, until He who gave His very life for us comes for us once again.
How will we discern the times if not in prayer and watchfulness, in and before the Lord Jesus Christ? How will we grow in the Spirit and in His gifts of faith, if not in prayer, watchfulness and faithful obedience unto the Living Word of God now? How we overcome, if not in genuine God-given faith, a true faith that remains until the time of the end?
To lose our faith is indeed to lose our hope and our love for the Lord Jesus Christ and for His people. May we give all diligence to add to this precious gift of His saving faith. In fact may we build ourselves up on this most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping ourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto His eternal life. For the grace of God that has appeared to all men, teaches us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ no matter how dark and ugly the world in its sin falls.
In conclusion, may I add the following text and thought.
1 Chronicles 12:32 (ESV) “Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do …”
May we all, in His Spirit and Truth, become like the men of Issachar, who had an understanding of the times and therefore in the Lord God Almighty, knew what the people of God should do. We must discern the times in which we are living and coming ever increasingly into, that we may not remain asleep in our assumptions and blind and deaf denial.
Beloved, we can not be passive about these things. No! Rather we need to become pro-active in preparing ourselves for all that lays ahead of us all by building ourselves up in our most holy faith, leaning upon He who is our hope and promise. Therefore let us heed Jude’s warning:
Jude 1:17-25 (ESV) But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.
20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
P.S. Check out this article and see for yourself how far some professing churches have already fallen.