In II Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 13 we read this: “Now brethren concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed (to take off the cover), the son of perdition.”
This prophecy is for our time, it means a falling away from the truth of God (a defection from the truth). Now, this also happened in times of the early New Testament Church. When Herbert W. Armstrong died; Satan’s ministers rose up and took over and threw God’s truth out the door. But we know that thousands didn’t leave God’s truth.
But before the return of Jesus Christ, more and more will give up and quit. Are you being set up for a downfall, could you fall away?
Now as we look at the world conditions today, what do we see; strife, hatred, violence, crime, which tells us that love, is on the way out.
Matthew 24:5 talks about deceptions and in verse 6 Christ talks about wars, and rumors of wars. Then He talks about world war, famines, disease epidemics, earthquakes in various parts of the world. In verse 8 Christ tells us that these are only the beginning of sorrows.
Actually the word sorrows means trials or tribulation. So in effect Christ is saying these are the beginning of tribulation, the Great Tribulation. In verse 9 He says: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” A great time of persecution will come on God’s people, they will be afflicted, and some even killed.
But Christ said we would be hated by all nations, therefore, today, something has to change for us to be known by all nations, and God intends to fulfill this prophecy.
What will happen under persecution? Verse 10, “and then shall many be offended,” the truth will offend people; they will fall away, leave the truth, “and shall betray one another and shall hate one another.” Outside pressures will turn some away from God’s truth; some members will turn against others. They will betray God’s people, why, because they themselves cannot stand up under persecution. Could this be one of you?
Now with persecution pressuring some out of God’s Church what is the next event? Verse 11, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Are we now getting the picture? There will be persecution on true Christians, some delivered to death, others afflicted, all hated. Under this great pressure that is coming, even more will fall and go back into the world and betray God’s people.
These false prophets, with a deceptive religion will lure away those who are not 100% convinced of God’s truth. Now when all this begins to take place, if you are not convinced that this is God’s Church, you will find yourselves confused and befuddled. With the push of persecution and the lure of deception the weak in faith will succumb.
Christ went on to say “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (v. 12).
Just look around us, it’s already happening, sin is everywhere in great mountainous heaps; lies, cheating, competition, hatreds, fornication, adultery, filth, perversion of all kinds, sadism, murders are all over the place.
Church members live in the middle of sin center; and because of all this sin, many of us are losing our true love. People are cold today; they don’t know how to love. Husbands and wives don’t’ know how to love each other; don’t have sincere affection for their children. We’re suspicious, we’re on the defensive – in other words-- love and kindness don’t’ fit into our age.
It seems that most people live in fear, trying to protect themselves; people’s minds have turned inward, there is no place for outgoing concern, no place for real love. Abounding sin makes us suspicious, and we don’t love as we should.
Verse 13: ”But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” We need to be holding on during the terrible times of persecution, of sin, and of false prophets. At the time when all this persecution, hatred of God’s ways, and sin is abounding; Jesus said: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the entire world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (v. 14).
Today, in America, there are 20 million people that are divorced. Satan is unleashing an onslaught against marriage and the stability of the home in America. He is doing everything he can to promote homosexuality, lesbianism and every type of sexual perversion.
Now notice what Jesus Christ said about our time: “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child, and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death” (Matt. 10:21). Here Christ is telling us that whole families are going to be torn apart. Fathers killing children, children killing parents, brothers delivering up brothers to death.
Now notice verse 19”But when they deliver you up.” This is dealing with a time of persecution on God’s people. It is during this time, a time when families are being torn apart, they will hate one another and betray one another. “And ye shall be hatred of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 10:22).
Love requires work; it is a full time job to stay in love; that of loving God, loving our neighbor, and our mates. But why would this be so? Because innately we are all selfish. We love self. When one loves self that isn’t really love, but lust. True love is outgoing concern for others.
Self love is natural; it is easy, self love is automatic and very powerful. To love others means to forego love of self. It takes effort and force to turn our love away from self and have outgoing concern for others. But we in God’s Church should know this; we need to show more love, be warmer and develop more love for the brethren.
So where do we begin? It starts by building stronger family ties: Why? Because prophecies say stress and strain will be put on families and this will cause man to fall away. Many will be offended and betray others. So how strong is your family? How much love does your family have? How much loyalty do your children have to the family?
Here is the key; no family can be completely tied together unless husband and wife are fully happy and in love.
“Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her (Verse 28). So husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife, loves himself” (Eph. 5:25).
As the head of the home, a husband should be thoughtful, uplifting and loving to his wife. Wives should do little things; like fix his favorite meal, keep yourself fixed up, beautiful and attractive for your husband, go out of your way to make him love you more.
Husbands and wives should be building a solid and firm foundation for the future, they should be building love. Satan will be putting great pressure on families and especially Christian families, and the weakness in one’s marriage will show up.
How much of this world’s perverted thoughts have entered our minds and the minds of our families? In this world’s entertainment, what do we see, sex and violence, sex in all it evil forms is everywhere?
As we all know, time flies and time is flying toward the period of heavy persecution against the Church of God; are we building strong families or are our families being torn apart? We all know what’s right; we know that God commands us to have a happy marriage. We know God commands men to love their wives and God commands wives to submit to their own husbands. We all know this, but are we doing it? Notice what Jesus Christ said:
“Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came and the winds blew, (the great tribulation) and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock” (Matt. 7:24-25).
Persecution is not pleasant, when it hits our first tendency is to become discouraged,. Fear and anxiety rushes in. So you are going to need spiritual strength. You are going to need contact with God; you will need comfort and support. If you have an unconverted mate, you must prepare yourself to face persecution, and don’t expect any sympathy from your unconverted relatives.
Suppose your marriage is torn apart by argument and bitterness and both are church members. You just can’t seem to get along. If there is bickering and strife and verbal warfare, the family will suffer along with the children. The children will have no real loyalty to mother or father; neither do they have any real desires toward attending God’s Church.
Now comes persecution, you become frustrated from without, scared and worried and weakened from within as a result of family problems, and your whole spiritual foundation begins to crumble. At a time when you need contact with God, if we don’t do what Jesus told us, and go on like you’ve been going with a strained marriage, and if you don’t take steps to straighten out your family problems, notice what happens:
“And everyone that hears these saying of mine, and does them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house. And it fell and great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:26-27).
Peter tells us: “Husbands, likewise dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (I Peter 3:7).
When persecution comes the strong family will unite. Why? Because they have built a strong love for one another. A strong family unit will be prepared at home to meet persecution from without. Having love, compassion, mercy toward family members, this family’s life has been built upon a rock. Perhaps this strong family relationship will prevent the brother from delivering up the brother to death, and the father the child, and the children will not rise up against the parents and cause them to be put to death.
The scriptures clearly state that the love of many will wax cold. It is now, while there is still time, that we build that strong family relationship. Do not allow yourself to be one of those who miss out on God’s Kingdom because you did not prepare for it. Some will fall away, do not be among them!