We’ve looked at Jonah, who disobeyed the call from God and turned away from Him. Think of it, he was the only man who knew the true God, the only man who had the answer. All the pagans around him were praying earnestly and he was down there in the sides of the ship fast asleep. What a vivid picture of multitudes of Christians today, down in the ship asleep because they’re not willing to face reality. So that’s number one of my recommendations. Align with God’s purpose which is the coming of His kingdom. He’s never varied, that is His objective.
Number two is cultivate endurance. We’ll turn back to Matthew 24. 14: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.” But the verse before that says: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” And Jesus has been speaking about all the problems and troubles and agonies that are coming on the nation. And then He says: “And He who endures to the end shall be saved.”
In fact, it’s even more specific than that. Jesus says he who has endured to the end, this is the one who will be saved. The English translation doesn’t bring it out sufficiently and vividly. Who will be saved? The one who has endured to the end. So you’re saved now. But to stay saved you have to endure.
Luke 21, which is a parallel passage, it’s again the discourse that Jesus gave. He says in verse 17 and following: “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake...” Obviously that must refer to Christians because it’s people who are hated for the sake of the name of Jesus. That’s one of those promises people don’t put in their promise box!
The next promise maybe you do: “...but not a hair of your head shall be lost.”
That refers to the resurrection because lots of Christians who were martyred, their bodies were totally destroyed. But in the resurrection, if you make it through, you’ll come out with a full head of hair. Not one hair missing! That’s a guarantee from Jesus.
Then He says: “In your patience possess your souls.” But that really does not render the meaning. I’ll give you my version, the Prince version. “By your endurance purchase your souls.” In other words, what is the price you have to pay for the salvation of your souls? In one word, endurance. There are things we have to buy but not with money. There’s other currency with which we buy some things. In Isaiah 55:1 it says: “Come, buy wine and milk without money, without price.” You have to buy them, but without money.
In the parable of the wise and the foolish virgins, the wise said to the foolish who did not bring enough oil, “Go and buy oil.” But while they were buying the bridegroom came and they missed it. But the oil we always understand to be a type of the Holy Spirit. You cannot buy the Holy Spirit with money but you have to buy the Holy Spirit with prayer, with seeking God, with time spent in the word. Otherwise, when your lamp runs out you’ll have nothing to refuel it with.
Father, I pray You’ll continue to help me endure until the end. Please give me the strength and faith to continue on the path You show me through Your Word. Help me to daily buy the oil of the Holy Spirit through prayer and the study of Your Word. Help me to continually realize there’s nothing more important than to first seek Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, amen.