RECAP: FAITHFUL TO THE END based on Matthew 24:1-14
Right before the cross, Jesus and his disciples toured the temple mount and then traveled to the Mount of Olives. There were no other crowds present; it was only the Twelve. Jesus used this moment to convey a warning to those he loved and invested in for three years. Jesus’ heart is for all to be saved, but this message was for those who were his most faithful and devoted followers. Likewise, it serves for all who closely follow Jesus. What was on Jesus’ heart? A strong warning with the hope that his followers would be faithful all the way to the end.
What lies ahead? Of what should we be careful? What should we be watching out for? How can we be faithful to the end? Jesus pointed out six things:
1) Watch out against church idolatry. The disciples were focused on the temple and its magnificence. Jesus responded that soon it would be destroyed. This bothered the disciples enough that they pressed again to ask when it would happen. It can become a trap for the people of God to inadvertently replace good things, things about God, in place of a relationship with God. For Israel, the nation strayed from devotion to God to devotion to maintaining the temple and its practices. They believed as long as the temple stood, they would find favor with God. But they ended up making religion and the temple an idol that took the place of a genuine relationship with God.
We end up doing the same thing. Sometimes, it is a building that gains the focus over God. Sometimes, it might be a ministry or a project that we connect with. It may even be a belief that we have that supersedes all other beliefs, like the article I shared about one’s adherence to a peace position undercut the entire story of the Bible! We need to make sure we are seeking God first and not worship the things of God in place of God! And this is a trap that can ensnare anyone.
2) Watch out for fear of disasters. Jesus warned of various disasters that would face the people of Israel: wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, etc. Troubles will come, but do we allow fear of those disasters to dictate our lives? At the root of fear is often comfort and control–we don’t want to lose that which we have. Our ancestors believed in simple living because material entanglements can get in the way of genuine faith. If everything were to vanish tomorrow, would we follow God? Do we worship because of what he has given us, or because of who he is? If we simply follow Jesus, take up our cross and follow, we won’t fear disaster when the worst strikes.
3) Watch out for persecution. If we are being faithful, we will face persecution. Jesus even said the disciples would be handed over to death. Why? Because when we are faithfully following Jesus, it will be at odds with the world; it goes against the world’s way of life. The world does not want to hear the truth, for they want to continue to embrace its lifestyle of sin. If the world is embracing us, we might be in a place of compromise. We need to stand firm on the Word of God and boldly preach the gospel, live according to the teachings of Jesus, even if we have to pay a price and go against the way of the world. This is not preaching a message of condemnation to the world, but living a way that is counter to the world. In this world we will have trouble if we are following Jesus’ way of life. Will we stand, or fall away because we don’t want to face the consequence?
4) Watch out for deceivers and false prophets. Jesus warned against both false Messiahs and false prophets, those who will claim to be anointed by God or under the power of the Spirit but really have nothing to do with God. They will sound pleasing to the ear, and deceive even the elect. Jesus warned many will fall away on their account. But we need to be on our guard. Just because someone says “Thus says the Lord,” or “This is what the Spirit is saying to me” does not mean it is truly the voice of the Lord. We only recognize the truth as we are diving into the Word of God regularly, both individually and collectively, and comparing what we hear with the Word of God. Popular theology today is not Biblical theology!
5) Stand Firm to the End. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. It will become easy to be discouraged and feel defeated, to want to throw in the towel. Or, because of the wicked times, we face the temptation to become apathetic, to follow the path of least resistance. Don’t give up being faithful. The one who stands firm all the way to the end will see the salvation of God.
6) Be faithful to the call. How do we know we can stand? If we are faithful to the call, taking the gospel that has changed our lives and sharing it with all nations, we know we are standing on Jesus! Our world needs to hear the good news, that there is a Jesus who died for their sins and they do not have to live in bondage. Let us share the good news, look for new ways to spread the gospel, so the community in which we have been planted can know the salvation of God, so they can endure in the end!
Questions for Reflection
1) Do we have any inadvertent idols we need to tear down?
2) Are there attachments to our world that we are afraid of losing? Can we lay it down?
3) Are we afraid of persecution? Can we do the right thing even under pressure?
4) Can you differentiate between popular theology and the Word? How can you increase your time in the word?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the series called “Faithful in Unfaithful Times” with the sermon titled, “Keep Watch,” based on Matthew 24:36-51. Jesus gave us a strict warning of what life will be like in the last days. What counsel did he give? How can we apply it to today? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for July 19 – 25
July 19: 1 Timothy 6:11-21 How did Paul encourage Timothy to stand firm?
July 20: 2 Timothy 1:3-18 How did Paul encourage Timothy to stand firm?
July 21: 2 Timothy 2:1-13 How did Paul encourage Timothy to stand firm?
July 22: 2 Timothy 2:14-26 How did Paul encourage Timothy to stand firm?
July 23: 2 Timothy 3:1-9 What keeps us from being able to stand firm?
July 24: 2 Timothy 3:10-4:5 How did Paul encourage Timothy to stand firm to the end?
July 25: Matthew 25:31-46 How can we show as believers we are keeping watch?
This Week’s Events:
Wednesday, July 20–Ministry Team @ 7 pm
Wednesday, July 21–Leadership Team @ 7 pm
Saturday, July 23–Lee Strobel @ Antioch Covenant Brethren Church (see below)
Sunday, July 24–Deacon Mtg after church
Sunday, July 24–Chasing the Lion Bible Study, Scott & Heather McAvoy’s House @ 4 pm
Sunday, July 31–Vespers @ 6 pm
Monday, August 1–Outreach Team Mtg @ Mary Miller’s house, 7 pm
Friday, August 19 – Sunday, August 21–Church Retreat @ Natural Chimneys
Lee Strobel coming to Antioch Saturday!
Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ and internationally known speaker will be at Antioch Church on Saturday, July 23 from 9:30 am-3:00 pm. He will speak about Why God Allows Suffering, The Case for Christ, The Case for the Gospels, and How to Reach Others for Jesus. He will also respond to questions. There is no charge for this and all are welcome. Antioch Church is located at 23502 Senedo Rd near Woodstock.
Bible Study Opportunity!
It is not too late to start the study! You can read the information below:
Six Weeks of Lion Chasing: A Study Series
Do you feel called to step out and do something great in your life? Or are you looking for what to do next? Then this six-week series may be for you! Based on the best-selling Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson, this series has as its theme: If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small
This small-group series will meet at 4 p.m. on six consecutive Sundays starting July 17 at the Sunset Park shelter in Dayton, Va. It will be led by a team of two educators, Lynne Miller Lent and Bill Wood.
Child care will be provided through a close-by kid zone in the park. There will be lemonade and ice water and cookies for the kids — and participants. Each session is designed to go for one hour. We will be covering the first six chapters in Chase the Lion and then gauging the interest in follow-up sessions for fall.
Adult participants of all ages and backgrounds are welcome. Child care will be for those age 2 and up.
To register, fill in the form at williamcwood.com/lion.
About Chase the Lion (from publisher’s description):
Based upon 2 Samuel 23, Chase the Lion tells the true story of an ancient warrior named Benaiah who chased a lion into a pit on a snowy day—and then killed it. For most people, that situation wouldn’t just be a problem…it would be the last problem they ever faced. For Benaiah, it was an opportunity to step into his destiny. After defeating the lion, he landed his dream job as King David’s bodyguard and eventually became commander-in-chief of Israel’s army under King Solomon.
Written in a way that both challenges and encourages, this revolutionary book will help unleash the faith and courage you need to identify, chase, and catch the five-hundred-pound dreams in your life.
We will have summer vespers on the final Sunday of each month for July and August. We will gather for a meal over the fire, sing some hymns and camp song favorites, play a camp-style game or two, and conclude with a vespers devotional. Come out and enjoy!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are still in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
We will have our first Church Retreat post-COVID at Natural Chimneys from Friday, August 19 through Saturday, August 21. Come rent a lot, pitch a tent or park a camper, and spend the whole weekend, or come and go as you please. It will be a great time to get away and simply enjoy each other at Beaver Creek!
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to the Christian Education Team and let them know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Donnie Cornwell Sr (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Tori Jackson (peace)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Leroy Makely (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Torrey Meyer (well-being)
Meeta McNett (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (various)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Winnie Wilfong (knee, tests)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church