Posted by: dhkrause | August 13, 2017

Endure Till the End

Jesus consistently teaches that faithful obedience brings glory to God and yields the good fruit of eternal life.  In Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, we see the ones who bear fruit are those “who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.”

Seed on Good Soil

Luke 8 (NKJV)
The Parable of the Sower
As a large crowd was gathering, and people were flocking to Him from every town, He said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Other seed fell on the rock; when it sprang up, it withered, since it lacked moisture. Other seed fell among thorns; the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. Still other seed fell on good ground; when it sprang up, it produced a crop: 100 times what was sown.” As He said this, He called out, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!”
The Parable of the Sower Explained
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 The seed along the path are those who have heard and then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 And the seed on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing.

14 As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. 15 But the seed in the good ground — these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.

Stay connected to the vine

In Jesus’ metaphor of the vine and the branches, we see once again that our abiding with Him brings glory to God and yields the good fruit of eternal life.

John 15 (NKJV)
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

In John 10, Jesus taught that if we keep on listening and keep on following, then we shall not perish and shall not be taken out of His hand.

John 10 (NKJV)
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.   …  27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

My sheep hear my voice

We can see from Jesus’ own words that a onetime commitment to follow Him does not automatically result in eternal life.  Some maintain that John 3:16 implies that a simple affirmation of beliefs about Jesus assures eternal life, but this is a shallow understanding the verse:

John 3 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The word, “believes” in this verse carries the meaning of keeping on believing and obeying.  Analyzing the original Greek in depth,  Douglas J. Del Tondo, in his book,  “Jesus’ Words on Salvation”, contends that a more accurate translation of John 3:16 would be:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever keeps on obeying unto Him should not perish but should have eternal life.

This is a companion verse to John 8:51:

Most positively, I say to you, if anyone keeps on obeying (tereo) My word, he should never ever see death into eternity (ainon) [fig. forever]!  [John 8:51]

(Douglas J. Del Tondo, Esq., Infinity Publishing.com, 2008, “Jesus’ Words on Salvation”, p. 514)

In his book, “Jesus’ Words Alone”, Del Tondo describes Jesus’ view of faith:

For Jesus, faith was something you exercised earnestly toward God in prayer, never giving up in your confidence God will answer.”

(Douglas J. Del Tondo, Esq., Infinity Publishing.com, March 2007, “Jesus’ Words Alone”, p. 399)

To those facing persecution, Jesus promises, “he who endures to the end will be saved.”  (Matthew 10:22)   “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 22:10)  James 1:12 says we are blessed if we endure temptation, looking forward to this promised reward:

James 1:12 (NKJV)
Loving God Under Trials
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

James 1_12

With God’s help, we can endure as overcomers to the end.  In Matthew 24, Jesus contrasts  the one whose love has grown cold with the one who endures to the end:

Matthew 24 (NKJV)
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Paul advises believers in Philippians 2:12 to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”.  Some express concern that if we earn eternal life by faithful obedience, we would be inclined to boast.  However, this need not be the case, considering the example of high achievers who refuse to boast, giving all glory to God.

Ray Knight

One memorable example of this occurred in the 1986 World Series, when the New York Mets were one pitch away from losing to the Boston Red Sox, and somehow pulled out the game.  Later in the series, in the seventh inning of the seventh game, Ray Knight of the Mets hit a line drive over the centerfield fence sparking a rally that led his team to victory.  When asked what he was thinking when he stepped up to the plate, he replied, “I was feeling physically exhausted.  I prayed that God would give me strength to do my very best, and He did!  I give all the glory to Him.”  Ray Knight refrained from boasting, giving God all the glory, but he had to swing the bat.

In Revelation 21, Jesus describes the destiny of those who endure till the end in faithful obedience:

Revelation 21:7
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

David Krause, dhkrause@neteze.com, 8/12/2017, https://compellinglove.net/


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