Anticipating the End: A Study Through Matthew (Part 11)

If you're a follower of Jesus, you're probably aware that there will be trials and tribulations throughout your life since we live in a broken world. In this section of Matthew (chapters 24-25), Jesus teaches about the coming trials we'll face in the world and motivates His followers to prepare for His glorious return. Although Jesus is talking to His disciples, 24:3-14 is relevant to our lives today – it discusses the sufferings throughout the world.

Jesus mentions wars, famines, and earthquakes. These are all things that will be a regular part of this world until Jesus returns. Why was Jesus telling His disciples about the sufferings that are to come? He wanted to make sure they don't get led astray by false prophets. He also wants to prepare them for what's to come. They will face judgment, tribulation, persecution for following Jesus. Things will be tough, but verse 13 says, "But the one who endures to the end will be saved."

The sufferings mentioned here are still present today and will be until Jesus returns. As followers of Christ, we are going to be judged. We might face persecution. People are going to try to lead us astray. However, through it all we need to stay strong in our faith and remember verse 13 when we feel like giving up.

“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

As mentioned above, Jesus warns the disciples of false prophets and those trying to lead them astray. They will have people trying to deceive them. Let's take a look at Matthew 14:22-28 to see how they might have been deceived:

The deception described in this section is of false christs and false prophets for Jesus returning. Jesus coming back is not going to be secretive and something only a few people know about. It is described as a flash of lighting – "comes from the east and shines as far as the west."

Preparing for the return of Jesus

We won't know when He is coming, we just have to be ready.

Stay awake and be ready. We can't just do our own thing and wait for right before Jesus comes to be His follower because we don't know when that time will come. Verses 42-44 show the first of four parables Jesus used to describe his return. This one used a thief as an example. We must continue to follow Him and complete the work of the Great Commission now because we don't know when He's coming.

Parables on preparedness for Jesus' return

This parable comparing the faithful/wise servant and the wicked servant demonstrates that the wicked servant was not a true disciple because of his behavior. His actions were bad when his master wasn't around. In the same way, we can't act one way and then expect to just quickly change when Jesus comes back (or before you die) – you won't be saved.

The parable of the ten virgins talks about this period of waiting for the bridegroom. During this waiting period, we have to be preparing properly on our own. If we aren't preparing during this waiting period (working on our relationship with God; our actions, etc.), we won't be ready when Jesus does come. In this parable, we see the five foolish virgins that weren't ready for the bridegroom and they ended up missing out. In the same way, if we aren't prepared, we'll miss out when Jesus comes.

The final parable Jesus tells is the parable of the talents. This parable shows three servants who received a varied amount of talents (money). After a period of time, they return to their master and show what they had done with their talents. The first two received identical praise from their master even though one brought back less than the other. In this situation, the master cared more about their faithfulness over the total amount earned.

The third servant held onto his talents and didn't do anything. He was lazy and a poor steward of what he was given. This led the master to be upset with him.

What can we take from this parable? Jesus cares most about our faithfulness. He wants to see us using our talents and resources for building up the Kingdom. If He sees that we're trying to be a good steward and faithful, we will eventually receive praise.

The Final Judgment

This last section ties together everything we've discussed above. It discusses what will happen to the "sheep" and the "goats".

The first part talks about the "sheep" that will inherit the kingdom. They had compassion for the needy. "And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"

In contrast, the "goats" will be condemned because of their lack of compassion.

Judgment will come for everyone. We won't know when it will happen, but we have to be ready. What are some things that you can work on to prepare for Jesus returning?

Cornerstone Impact Update

Each month, we like to highlight some of the content of our BRI partners. Recently, Eventide discussed “themes of human flourishing”. This concept refers to the opportunity to meet important human needs through the investments in businesses. “Themes of human flourishing” is the overlap between secular growth themes and important human needs.

Check out their article for more on this:

Themes of Human Flourishing - Eventide
Where businesses and industries are experiencing growth and profiting by meeting important human needs, this is where we find themes of human flourishing.

This last year we’ve been posting more Cornerstone content on the blog. One of the biggest questions we get in regards to Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI) is centered around performance. Back in June, I wrote a blog discussing BRI and performance. Will you have to sacrifice performance if you switch to a BRI portfolio? Beyond the performance, why should you choose Cornerstone?

Check out the blog for more:

BRI & Performance
When we started offering our Biblically Responsible Investment (BRI) options,the biggest questions centered around performance. Will I have to sacrificeperformance if I switch to a BRI portfolio? Seeking better performance was neverour reason behind getting into BRI; however, we do know it is a b…

Your Faith & the Workplace

We share a lot more content than just these Cornerstone blogs a couple times a month! Wednesdays we have short #WednesdayintheWord posts on our social media and on Saturday we have our Timothy Keller book study. The book is separated into 3 parts and we finished part 1 in September. There's still time to jump in though! Catch up with the first part of the book here:

God’s plan for work (Every Good Endeavor - Part 1)
Work is important, but it isn’t the only thing in life. These 2 truths seem very simple. It can seem obvious that (1) work is important, and (2) work isn’t the only thing in life. However, we live in a fallen world, and sometimes we need a reminder of these

The Saturday morning posts will be on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. You can purchase the book, Every Good Endeavor on Amazon if you'd like to dive deeper into connecting your work to God's work.

If you have any questions about the study, let me know.

New Cornerstone Shirt!

We have a new Cornerstone shirt! The shirt is the same super-soft material as the other designs, but this time it's burgundy. See below for the design.

If you'd like to order one of the new shirts (or one of the old shirts) fill out the form below. [Note: not all sizes are available in the old shirt designs.]

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West Point, VA
Courtney is SEM's Marketing Manager. She joined SEM full-time in 2016. Outside of SEM, Courtney enjoys hiking with her golden retriever, Mya and volunteering at LifePointe Christian Church.