Vince Lombardi, the
famous Green Bay Packer coach of the 1960s, known for his draconian
training regimen in preparing his players, said: “Fatigue makes cowards
of us all.” He put his observation to practical use against his
opponents by making sure it was the opponents, not his team members, who
were fatigued by game’s end. Each Packer player was totally spent at the
end of each practice session; he left all he had on the field of
When strength was returned and fully pumped up on
game day, there was more than enough to overpower those not as
intensively conditioned. The result was a championship team
that continues to be memorialized in sports lore all of these years
later. There was no team that could match Lombardi’s Packers when the
fatigue set in during the later stages of the games they played during
the height of their power. There were teams that could match their
natural athletic abilities, but none could match their endurance.
The game was won by the intensive time of
preparation as much as it was won on the actual field of play.
The use of the above sports analogy is not
far-fetched. Paul, the great champion for taking the gospel
of Christ forth, used just such an analogy to describe his
life, death, and glorious future in God’s kingdom: “For I am now ready
to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a
good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but
unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim.
Paul, it is obvious by studying his writings, was a
sports fan. He used things like running a race, beating the air,
finishing the course, and other terms that give us insight to the fact
that he at least took interest in the society of his day. That society
was one filled with sports activities, and would have been a natural
area of subject matter for the great teacher to interject as he
presented the gospel and matters of
The games of the day included Olympic-type events.
The races in particular turned on the cheers of fans of the day. Crowns
of laurels (formed from leaves) were placed upon the victors' heads by
Paul made the linkage of the races of his time to
the bema (judgment seat of Christ), at which children of God will
receive crowns of victory based upon how they ran the race in
Christ’s cause during their lifetimes. The very nature of such a race
indicates the necessity of enduring–of persevering--through the long,
sometimes uphill miles of living a life of righteousness.
Most often, Paul used such analogy to indicate, as
in the verses above, the fact that the Christian should be willing to
endure. In many places, he taught how to build endurance. That
preparation most often was wrapped around prayer, Scripture study, and
practical action–witnessing and teaching truth to others.
God’s Word telling us to endure is one topical area
prophecy that has caused anxiety-ridden questions among
some. It seems to those who question that the command to endure,
according to the language used, is a requirement in order to assure that
salvation is achieved. One must “endure unto the end” to be saved--to
win in the game of life, thus to secure one’s place in heaven for
Endurance is one of the things God requires of His
children. As a matter of fact, He demands it. But, what does the term
“endurance” used in the scriptures, causing anxieties among some
believers, mean, exactly?
A close examination of the key verses involved is
necessary to understand the term “endurance” in God’s prophetic lexicon.
One such reference is found in the
Apostle Paul’s foretelling about departure from
in the end of the Church Age:
“For the time will come when they will not endure
sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves
teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from
the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all
things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full
proof of thy ministry” (2 Tim. 4:3-5).
Paul was prophesying a time–indeed, I am convinced
we are in that time—when many within the very heart of the Christian
church will move away from preaching and teaching that man is lost and
needs the Savior, who is Jesus Christ, alone (John 14: 6). This failure
to endure the sound doctrine taught by Jesus, Paul, and the other
apostles would, Paul indicated, be a fatigue that would make cowards of
many, causing them and those they teach to turn to lies.
We see today this very thing.
that man is lost in sin, thus must turn to the shed
blood of Jesus Christ for
remission of that
deadly sin, has been changed to give the feel-good message
that God is love and would never condemn those He knows to be less than
perfect. The fable makers teach and preach the do-good message that we
must go along with the world of philanthropists who preach a
to feed, clothe, and, in general, show the have-nots that humanism is
Much of the Church today thus has failed to “endure
until the end.”
Jesus pronounced, in strong language, the role
“endurance” will play in the days leading up to His second advent: “And
false prophets shall rise, and
shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many
shall wax cold.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same
shall be saved" (Matt. 24:11-13).
Jesus even asks in one instance whether He will
find any faith on earth when He returns. And, this is where the anxiety
comes in for some. Is Jesus saying that those who do not hold to
Bible truth until the very end
won’t be “saved”? Must we--and those of the tribulation era—never
slip-up and sin, thus departing from truth, or else suffer the
The answer is found within the character of the One
who issued the solemn statement. Jesus, who said “It is finished” when
He completed the redemption plan of God on the cross at
Calvary, also said: “My Father, which gave [them] me, is
greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my
Father's hand” (John 10:29).
Saints “endure” through Christ. We haven’t the
ability to resist this fallen world apart from the strength found only
in our Savior. The supernatural endurance required to “endure unto the
end” is not in us, but in Jesus, who paid the full price for our eternal
souls: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest
any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
When we are “in” Christ, we will “endure,” because
Christ “endures.” He is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
Now, this does not excuse the Christian from
remaining faithful to God. In that sense, “endurance” is our
responsibility. It is our responsibility to the very end–of our lives,
or until the rapture of Christ’s body, the Church. We are to strengthen
ourselves for spiritual battle in order to not become fatigued through
prayer, Bible study, and through exercising our witness before our
fellow man. We put on the
whole armor of God as we are
directed to do in Ephesians, Chapter 6.
God equips us. He doesn’t demand such a hard thing
without providing the ability–even the absolute guarantee--of that sort
of “endurance” that takes His child “unto the end.”
Those who fail to exercise their witness, in
whatever way God directs, become flabby, ineffective ambassadors in
Christ’s royal service. There is always a heavy price to pay for such
sloth. Not loss of salvation for those who are truly in Christ’s grip,
but a loss of position within the kingdom
Those who fail to endure in the center of God’s will will suffer loss of
rewards when kneeling before their Savior at the judgment seat of
That is one primary reason we at
Rapture Ready exhort Christians
to join in our efforts in these closing days of the Age of Grace–the
Church Age. There are many, many opportunities to labor, to “endure,”
during these trying times that are presented by this dynamic website
effort to reach the lost world for Christ.
Many are writing articles, many are writing
encouraging emails, and some are giving in other ways to God’s work on
One area we very much need help is in finances.
Donations have dwindled, yet the ministry-associated needs of Christ in
these closing days of the age have never been more pronounced. Enduring
to the end also means supporting Christ-centered ministries with our
financial offerings. If hundreds of millions can be contributed to the
prosperity ministries who teach that false message of giving to get, why
do not those who hold to
Bible truth not support faithful
ministries with greatly abundant offerings?
Jesus said: ”For where your treasure is, there will
your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21).
Bill Keller of
Liveprayer.com recently presented a most relevant
devotional about the believer and endurance:
“…Most people are so bound up in their own
weaknesses, get so distracted each day by the blowing winds of life, or
just won't make the sacrifice to pay the price to ever get to a place
where they can even understand this message. However, for those who do
want more of God, do want all of God they can get, are willing to
literally lay down their very life and give everything they have to the
Lord, this word is for you today!
The word today is PERSEVERANCE. After serving the
Lord for nearly 2 decades, I can tell you that it never gets any easier,
the battles only intensify as time goes on, and the more you are doing
for the Kingdom the more you will have to endure, and the more you will
have to persevere. Why do you think so many opt out or take the easy
road? Very few people enjoy pain, conflict, being a target and attacked
constantly day after day, and run when confronted with these things.
That is why most of the Lord's work is done in the safety of the
Christian subculture we have created, behind the 4 walls of the church.
That is also why we are having very little influence, and very little
impact on this world we live in!
Look at the life of Paul. It would have been easy
for Paul to sit back in the comfort and safety of the churches he
pioneered and take on that apostolic role and live a life of honor,
ease, comfort, and luxury. While Paul did oversee the churches he
founded, he never stopped or slowed down in fulfilling God's mission for
his life to take the Gospel to the lost and hurting outside the four
walls of the church. He pressed forward, tirelessly, until the very end
when he was martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ. Despite the great
personal sacrifices, putting his life on the line each day, fighting all
of the obstacles he had to face each step of the way, Paul PERSEVERED!
My word for you today is this. You are not going to
ever fulfill God's plan for your life in serving the Lord without being
able to persevere. That is because the things of God don't come easy,
and won't come without a fight. There is a very real enemy who will do
all he can to stop you. As I share with you often, this is ultimately a
battle for the souls of men, and sadly, Satan is willing to fight harder
for souls than most of God's people. You can't persevere by giving God
25%. You can't persevere by giving God 50%. You can't persevere by
giving God 80%. You can't persevere by giving God
even 95%. TO PERSEVERE, YOU HAVE TO BE SOLD OUT,
100% TO THE LORD!!!…(Bill Keller, Daily Devotion, 8/27/08, www.liveprayer.com).