January 29, 2023 The One Who Endures to the End Will Be Saved

The One Who Endures to the End will be Saved

January 29, 2023

Read 23:37-39.


These three verses serve as a transition from the Lord’s strong denunciation of Israel’s leaders to the people themselves – all of Jerusalem. This shows that the attitudes and sins of the scribes and Pharisees were equally those of the populace. Chapter 24 will record the Lord’s prophecy against Jerusalem and these three verses begin it.


In verse 37 the Lord charges them that, even though he desired to gather them and care for them, they “were not willing.” “The blame is placed firmly on their choice, like the Jerusalem of Isaiah’s day who refused God’s offer of security through trusting him (Is. 30:15-16).”[1]


There is an element of mystery here. See the compatibility of God’s sovereign election and the free agency[2] of his creatures. We are commanded to choose the right things. And, there are consequences, sometimes severe, when we choose evil. Thus, we must be diligent and fearful in our making of wise choices. At the same time, we need the grace of the Lord to soften our hard hearts. We cannot fully understand how our choices and the election of God work together, but we accept both truths by faith.


Jesus tells them that “your house is left to you desolate.” Jesus was speaking in the temple courtyard; thus, “your house” refers to the temple. Matthew 24:2 confirms this. See that God’s house has now become “your house,” “it has been left ‘to you’ because God has abandoned it.”[3]

For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” [4]

The Jews will not see Jesus until he returns to the earth at his second coming. Zechariah 12 prophecies of this time and it shows that God’s favor will once again be displayed to Israel. They will mourn for what they had done to Jesus (crucified him), but they will recognize him for who he is!

Read 24:1-8.

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” [5]

The stones of the temple were enormous. Josephus describes them of being of two different sizes: twelve meters and twenty meters!! In addition to these, the foundation stones were five meters long and some of these still exist and can be seen by visitors to the Western Wall.

The remainder of the chapter has come to be understood in three ways. One is that the bulk of the chapter is dealing with the Lord’s second coming to the earth. This is the perspective of the “Left Behind” craziness. It sees almost the entire chapter still in our future, that is, unfulfilled. Another is that the entire chapter has already been fulfilled in the first century with the destruction of Jerusalem. This is known as the “preterist” perspective.[6] The third position and widely accepted, is that the first part of the chapter (up to verse 35) deals with the destruction of Jerusalem and the remainder of the chapter addresses his second coming. This is the understanding of R T France, a great scholar in his own right, and is the most consistent of the three views.

Almost assuredly, the purely futurist interpretation is wrong.  This can be seen when comparing Matthew 24 with Mark 13 and Luke 19 & 21. In those other synoptic chapters it is even more clear that our Lord is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem.

As France proves, “the ‘cosmic’ language of 24:29 (which has led many to think that these events are still in our future) is drawn directly from OT prophetic passages where it functions not to predict the physical dissolution of the universe, but as a symbolic representation of catastrophic political changes within history.”[7] Verse 34 is an important verse in this regard. Jesus promised that “all these things,” meaning everything he said up until verse 34, would take place in the generation of his listeners!


So, we begin at verse 3:


As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”[8]

First, we note that the disciples have a double question. They ask when “will these things be,” meaning when the stones of the temple would be taken away and the temple demolished (vs. 2). And, they ask about the sign of his coming and the end of the age. Jesus answers their first question in verses 4-35. He answers their second question in verse 36 and following.


“The first part of the question posed by the disciples was ‘When will these things happen?’ and the answer is accordingly structured around a series of time indicators which lead up to the climax of the destruction of the temple within the current generation. This is in sharp contrast to the new section which will begin in 24:36, and which will answer the second half of the disciples question: in that section there are no specific time indicators, and indeed the starting point for the whole section is that the day and hour of the parousia (the Greek word that Matthew uses, which means ‘presence’ or ’coming,’ yet distinct from a different word for ‘coming’ that he uses in 24:30; CR) cannot be predicted, and that it will come without any ‘sign’ or prior warning, so that one must always be ready for it. Thus, one event (the destruction of the temple) falls within defined and predictable history, and those who know what to look for can see it coming, while the other (the parousia) cannot be tied down to a time frame, and even Jesus does not know when it will be and so will offer no ‘sign.’”[9]


And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.[10]


There were many such claimants in the first century. Josephus mentions Theudas (also mentioned in Acts 5:36), “the sons of Judas of Galilee,” “the Egyptian” (also mentioned in Acts 21:38), and other unnamed “imposters.”

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.[11]

“The question which Jesus is here answering was about when the temple would be destroyed, and that is the end most naturally understood here.”[12]

There were wars and rumors of such in the time between this address and the destruction of the temple. In 36 AD there started wars with Parthia in the east (where Iran is now). There was a war in Nabatea (Arabia, east of the Red Sea) in 37 AD. There would be rumors of war in that the zealots plotted to overthrow Roman rule for several years prior to their actual attempt in 66 AD. There would be civil war in Rome itself in “the year of the four Emperors,” AD 68/69.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. [13]

“Historical records as we have for the first century mention earthquakes in Asia Minor in AD 61 and in Italy in AD 62, in Jerusalem in AD 67, and another serious earthquake at an unspecified earlier date in Palestine. A widespread famine around AD 46 is mentioned in Acts 11:28 and Josephus.”[14] Earthquakes are also mentioned in Acts 16:26 and 27:51.

Read 24:9-13.

Verses 9-11 are self-explanatory. In verse 12 Jesus says something profound. He says that because there will be an increase in lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. This is the exact opposite notion that the world holds. Most people of the world think that love and law are opposites. Love does not need law, they say. Jesus said that a failure to abide by God’s laws will lead to a lack of love. Yes, it is possible to outwardly abide by God’s laws and to lack love. But it is not possible to spurn God’s laws and have love. This is because the law of God is the very reflection of love lived out. The law reflects God’s nature and God’s nature is love.

In verse 13, Jesus says that he who endures to the end will be saved. The end of what? Saved from what? The end must be the destruction of the temple and the city because he is still answering the disciples’ first question. Saved how? Physically or spiritually? From Matthew’s account alone it is not even possible to discern the salvation referred. Mark’s gospel reveals more:

And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. [15]

Mark records that some will be put to death for their faith. Therefore, the salvation cannot be physical because some will not be saved physically. The salvation is of their souls. Jesus is saying that those who endure and do not give up their faith will save their souls through all the tribulation and suffering during those trying years (66-70). There is an application for us. We, too, will go through trying times. If we endure, then we will save our souls. All true saints of God persevere. False professors give up.

This is such an important principle that we must not forget it! It takes on even more importance for us because evangelicals have, by and large, come to embrace a false gospel. Evangelicals have come to believe that it is how one starts that determines their destiny. The “starting” is a profession of faith. We have been told for a hundred years that if we just mentally assent to some facts about Jesus then our eternal destiny is assured.


But it is not the profession of faith that saves. It is the reality of faith that saves. Of course, if one professes faith in public, as they ought, and they do possess genuine faith then that person is justified. They are “saved.” But we do not know who those people are until time goes by. Genuine faith will persevere through difficult times because genuine faith comes from the Spirit moving in the heart of a person. A false faith becomes known, for example, when a person stops meeting with the church (I John 2:19). Enduring means remaining faithful to Christ in the midst of trials and hard times. Remaining faithful includes (but is not limited to) not neglecting the meetings of the church (Hebrews 10:25).

Remaining faithful is not optional for the follower of Christ. It is essential. It is a common theme throughout the entire Bible. It is a grave error to think that we can live any way we wish rather than giving all of who we are to Christ. He is either our Lord in reality or we are our own lord.

Consider how the Lord addressed the churches in Revelation. To the church in Smyrna he says:

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.[16]

They were called to be faithful unto death. Only if they were would they receive the crown of life. The “crown of life” is a reward for those who are faithful. We are called to be faithful “unto death!” It is not how one starts their journey of faith that determines their destiny. It is how one ends!

Sadly, many Baptists have fallen for the false notion that how we begin determines our destiny. I attended two funerals in the last few years. One was here at our building and the other was at the funeral home in Winfield. In both instances the persons conducting the service said that the deceased were in heaven because they made a profession of faith. Yet, in the first instance, the young woman who died had died of a drug overdose and she had not attended church for many years! There were rumors of her having lived a wild, unrestrained life. Whether those rumors were true or not, being an illicit drug user and forsaking the assembly of the church certainly means that she did not endure until the end.

The second instance was of the son of a former member of our church who died in his 40’s. He, too, had not attended church for years, was living with his girlfriend (living in fornication) at the time of his death, and who had profane writings. We were told, too, that he was in heaven. He did not endure to the end.

It is not how one starts. It is how we end!

To the church at Thyatira our Lord says:

The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.[17]

We must keep the Lord’s works “until the end” if we would rule along with Christ.

To the church at Sardis he says:

The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.[18]

We must conquer in order to be clothed in white! We must conquer in order to not have our names blotted out! You will either conquer or you will be conquered. The two deceased people that I told you about were conquered by the world. They have no white garments. Their names are not in the book of life.

To the church at Laodicea he says:

“ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. [19]

Unless we keep the fire burning in our hearts until the end, unless we are hot, the Lord will spit us out! It is not how we begin! It is how we end!

How do we keep the fire burning? How do we endure until the end?

I will take you back to my first two sermons of the year. Because, if we can exercise ourselves to love the Lord more and to dwell – live in – his word, then we will find great strength and strong motivation to live out the Lord’s will in joy and contentment. To love the Lord more I identified three things that we can do in order to increase our love for him.[20]

To ensure that we are living in God’s word see the church website, Sermon Notes, for 1/1/2023 (The Precision of God’s Word).

The one who endures to the end will be saved! Are you overcoming your flesh? Or, is your flesh overcoming you? It may be time for you to turn off your tv, spend less time on your phone, less time at the dining table, and stir up the fire that you once had…..if you ever possessed it! Throw away your false gods and surrender completely to Christ!

The words of the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel are words for us today:

And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. [21]

This is the very condition that God’s people were experiencing when Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 24. They were limping between two opinions. They were not fully committed to their God. And this is still the condition of some today!

The Lord is still saying, “If Christ is Lord then really follow him. But, if your flesh is your lord then keep living by your appetites and comforts.”

If we limp we will never be truly happy. But if we commit to follow him with our whole heart then we will find joy and peace in all that we do. We will endure to the end. We will ensure our salvation.

Love him! Live in his word. And see the strength of the Lord fill you!




[1] France, The Gospel of Matthew, 883.

[2] The term, “free agency,” is to be prefereed over the more popular designation of “free will.” “Free will” implies that the human will is free to choose righteousness. Yet, this is the very thing that Paul teaches we cannot do because of our fallen nature (Rom. 3). Human will is not free to choose the right things. “Free agency” merely implies that we are agents (actors) that are not coerced to act but have the freedom to make choices, albeit we often choose the wrong!

[3] France, 884.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 23:39). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 24:1–2). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[6] Although the view that the entire chapter has already been fulfilled is a minority position, there are very reputable scholars who hold to it, such as R C Sproul, Greg Bahnsen, Kenneth Gentry, and N.T. Wright.

[7] France, 891.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 24:3). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[9] France, 899.

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 24:4–5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[11] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 24:6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[12] France, 903.

[13] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 24:7–8). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[14] France, 904.

[15] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mk 13:12–13). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[16] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Re 2:10). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[17] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Re 2:26–27). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[18] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Re 3:5). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[19] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Re 3:15–16). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[20] See the sermon, The Two Greatest Commandments, at nsbcwinfield.com for 1/8/2023.

[21] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Ki 18:21). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.