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As persecution intensifies around the world, many will forsake Christ and join the nonbelievers. Jesus said: "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:10-13).
As persecution intensifies around the world, many will forsake Christ and join the nonbelievers.
People will defect from the faith for three principal reasons:
First, they will defect because the price of following Jesus is too high. They will decide they do not want to pay the cost of discipleship.
Second, they will defect because false teachers will arise with deceptive but persuasive messages. These false teachers will speak from church pulpits. They will write best-selling books and appear on TV. They will have the most popular social media accounts. They'll use variations on the same lies Satan used in the Garden of Eden: "Did God really say…?" and "You shall be like God."
Third, they will defect because sin is attractive and seductive. Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). The wide gate is the gate of selfishness and the temporary pleasures of sin. The narrow gate is the gate of righteousness and everlasting pleasures in heaven.
There are many in the church today who are what I call "hangers on." They may outwardly look like believers, but they are not truly born again. They are members of the institutional, visible church but have never joined Christ's invisible church. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of those "hangers on" will grow cold, and they will fall away from the church. But genuine believers who stand firm to the end will be saved.
Prayer: Lord, forgive us for being so taken with sin and false teachings that tickle our ears. Help me to stand strong in faith and to be a light for Christ, that those around me would see Your Truth and run to the Light of the World in dark days. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).
This devotional is adapted from Dr. Michael Youssef's timely book Is the End Near?: What Jesus Told Us About the Last DaysThis eye-opening work will answer your questions about end-times issues by examining statements that Jesus Himself made about what was and is to come. You will be encouraged as you anticipate Christ's return.
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's companion sermon series Is the End Near?: WATCH NOW