East Valley Baptist Church
East Valley Baptist Church

Pastor's Message for January 2023  

  “Will Believers Go Through Tough Times?”
                                          Pastor Daryl Bennett
        Mark 13:35, records Jesus talking about His return.  Starting with vs. 34 Jesus says: “It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch."   Verse 35 “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming–in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning--”   

      We would really like to think the Son of Man will return at the first opportunity, “in the evening.”   But as the case may be, we are just shy of 10 years of it being 2000 years since Christ died and rose from the grave.  According to Jesus’ parable, it could be the 2nd watch, midnight,  the very first of the morning when the rooster begins to crow, or then again, it may be as late as  “in the morning.”  
     Thus this would imply His disciples/followers/believers would have to go through all the night,  past the rooster crowing and into the morning.  This tells us events will have to come to pass before the Son of Man returns for His own.  And if His children must go through the night, then they will  go through some events before they see their master’s return.  We need to be watching and prepared to go through events before His return. 
        Turn to Matthew 24, Jesus is answering His disciples questions of when would He return and what would be the sign of it.   Jesus begins by telling them what they would need to be on the look out for:
    Verse 4:  “And Jesus answered and said to them; ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.  Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.  And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:4-14
     Jesus tells us False Christ will come.  But He tells his disciples   “Take heed that no one deceives you.”  Then He tells them......
       1.   Sorrows in nations and earth
      Verse 6; Wars will happen, and some won’t.  But notice, He says, “See that you are not troubled;”   Disciples are “Not deceived, and Not troubled.” These do not get us off course.
Jesus delineates the sorrows and troubles in this world in the next verse–7.  Nations and Kingdoms will fight against each other--like what is going on in Israel & Ukraine today.
       And “there will be.”   It must happen, what is it to happen?   1) Famines,   

2) Pestilence   3) earthquakes in various places.
      These events are not to shake us, or move us, or surprise us.  Jesus tells us “For all these things must come to pass,”   The point here is:    Nations will fight,   crops will not be able to grow,   sickness/disease will move across the land, and there will be earthquakes.   
     And Jesus points out: “These are the beginning of sorrows.”   That would imply several things:   1)  There will be MORE along the way,   2)   And that believers WILL have to GO through them.
       Some how we get this idea that as a Christian following Jesus, we get a “get out of Jail FREE” card.    I.e. We are exempt from going through what the world is going through.   I believe we read “pestilences,” plural.   Believers can and will get sick too.     We are not exempt from the sorrows.  We may have to serve in a war.  We may have to rebuild from an earthquake.  We may have to deal with famine.  That is life and it comes along on planet earth.
        We need to understand believers go through these things.  And believers also have:
          2.  Tribulation –verse 9
      By virtue of being a believer, we will have additionally “tribulation”  that could include  the taking of our life.      Why?  Because we agree with Jesus when He says He is exclusive.  “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but  through Me.” 

John 14:6 There is NO other way, Only through Christ.
      But there is a difference  here.   Believers do not panic or act like the world in a crisis.   
       Jesus says “lawlessness will abound.”   This is how I know that it is  SIN that will CONQUER the world, with the results affecting believers by “the love of many will grow cold and some will betray one another, be offended and will hate one another.”    
       The Point here is this: Believers MUST go through these things.  And that INCLUDES Tribulation.    We do not get a “get Out FREE” Card.   This is NOT the Wrath of God.  This is Tribulation for the believer.   
       Again, Believers Must go through this.  We don’t have this preached in our churches today.  This will not sell internet, TV time.  This message will not fill your seats in a church.  This is not the popular theology of have your best life now, wait for the rapture, and those who are saved later must go through this tribulation.  This theology leads believers to be totally unprepared,  set up to betray, be offended, and hate one another.
      And Why might tribulation happen for the believer?   Because believers need something that can not come any other way.  What is it?
           3.  Endurance By Believers–verse 13
       We have need of Endurance.   So the question here really is:  What are you following Christ for?  To get out of hell?   To gain Heaven?   To have the Best Life Ever?   Or is it to be saved from this world, its sin, its ways,  its pride, its lust,  and because Jesus is who He says He is – Lord and God?
      Endurance tells us Believers will be going through some really difficult things.                        Believers will not be getting out of some of the events going on in the world.
I believe we will see a famine across the world.  Believers will be in it.  So we prepare for it, and we rejoice in our God who shows His children are different in how they go through these things.  We don’t act like the world, and we don’t panic.  We don’t fret, we don’t get upset and we do not fear.  We bless.  We share.   We prepare.   We will go through what our  neighbors, friends and family are going through.  And we praise our Lord and Savior who is with us and leads us.   
       This is why the world hates you.  You are different.  you love Jesus, and follow Him.
You are NOT like them.
      So if Christ waits till the morning to return, great!   If we experience sorrows–we take it in stride.  Our God is the one who shows Himself strong by contrasting His own  from the world.  
      We give when everyone else is keeping.
      We share when everyone else is in panic and taking.
      The Lord Jesus  blesses us, and WE KNOW where the source of all that we have comes from. We don’t panic in fear.  We are moving to a level of faith to  believe He is on His throne and in charge.  Christ allows suffering because we KNOW Romans 8:28 is true.
      So tribulation is an opportunity to show the world we don’t act the same way they do.  And the tribulation that comes upon us, is for a greater purpose–endurance.  
      Believers are not afraid of this future,  we know it is our cue to go on the stage, Be His people, Do His work, and Preach the gospel in this way that all the world will know Jesus is the one and only Savior, and He alone can forgive your sins and give you peace.
      2024 is our year to move ahead.  Live our faith out loud, and not to shrink back.  We have only one chance to do this, and there are no do overs.   We must get it right. 

     God help us.©
      If I can be of help, please contact me.  Pastor Daryl Bennett   This message is copyright, no portion may be used without giving credit to its author.




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