Pretend It’s The End Part Six: “Faithful As Never Before!”  

A Bible Study for the New and Growing Follower of Jesus

By Timothy Smith, Posted in 2022

“Pretend It’s The End” Part Six:

Faithful As Never Before!

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TruthTexts presents a 6-part Bible study about living every day as though our time here on Earth is short.  We know civilizations, nations, and our own lives will not last forever. But believers in Jesus know that  “the end” is really the beginning of Eternity. So we will examine the Bible’s TruthTexts on how to behave, how to think, what to say, and what to do, in order to share the love of Jesus with the whole world. There are no “End Times” speculations in this study, no rash predictions. There’s just a serious look at some practical TruthTexts about living radically different lives by following God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit in these perilous times.


“...when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” – Jesus, in Luke 18:8

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (tribulation). But take heart, because I have (already) overcome the world!” (John 16:33, based on NLT)

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. (1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT)

...We are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. (from 2 Peter 3:13-14 NLT)

How Bad Will It Get?

As we near the end of this study called “Pretend it’s the End,” let’s review what Jesus tells us about the “Last Days.” One very encouraging thing He said about all the signs of His return is found in Luke 21:28: “Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (RSV). We’re not going to speculate about cosmic battles and clashing armies, or the date the Lord will return. But we know something’s up, and we sense that the time is short. So let’s look at how believers will be treated, and what kind of a world we will face before the end. The question for us is, how bad will it get? Jesus’ warnings are very clear. Speaking to His disciples after the “Last Supper,” shortly before He was arrested, Jesus said,

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” (John 15:16-21 NIV)

Jesus continued with a warning for us:

“I told you all of this so that you won’t fall away and abandon your faith. People will throw you out of your places of worship; in fact, the time will come when anyone who kills you will think they are doing God a huge favor. These people never knew the Father, or me. I’m telling you this now so that when it happens, you will remember that I warned you. Now that I am leaving this world, these are things my followers need to know.” (John 16:1-4, my paraphrase)

Jesus concludes with a specific promise to believers facing great trouble and danger:

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have perfect peace. In the world you have tribulation, distress, and suffering. But be courageous, undaunted, and filled with joy. For I have overcome the world. My conquest is accomplished, and my victory will last forever!” (John 16:33 based on AMP Bible)

So why do we need to know this? Why should we think about it now? It’s because we are told to live as though the world we know is passing away. So we should pay attention to the many TruthTexts that tell us what to expect, and how to live in those days. To be clear, there’s no command in these verses to grab weapons and fight, no focus at all on our physical safety, and no instructions that will cause us to escape tribulation.  Instead, we are told to become more visible, more vocal, and more contagious in our faith.

When Will All Of This Happen?

Jesus was often asked whether the “End of the World” was near during His earthly ministry. And in fact He had much to say about the “Last Days.” Look at Luke 12:54-55 (NIV)

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say,

‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going

to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the

earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

Jesus expects us to keep watching for His return, to be able to recognize the “times and the seasons” that lead up to His return. But He also warns us that we will not know the day or the hour. In Matthew 24, Jesus describes many things that must happen before His return, and it’s a chilling list. But His emphasis is to remain faithful and not to get distracted by any of the troubling things that are happening. And then He reminds us in verses 35-36 and 42 (NIV),

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. But about

that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but

only the Father.” (verses 35-36) “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know

on what day your Lord will come!” (verse 42)

We are to live obedient lives, with our focus on remaining faithful, and to wait expectantly for His return. Anyone who starts telling people when Jesus will come, and anyone who suggests climbing to the top of mountains dressed in white robes, or any of that “stuff,” is missing the point of the TruthTexts, and may actually be doing more harm than good! Jesus, in the parable of the ten servants in Luke 19, reminds us to stay engaged in the Master’s work until He returns. That is what we must do, as tempting as all the speculation may be.

In the meantime, Paul challenged us to “ clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (from Phil. 2:15 NLT) The Gospel of Jesus is the best news humans can ever hear, we are right on the edge of a “new Heaven, and a new Earth,” and people around us need to hear about this! We want everyone to hear, so that many can join us. Therefore, most of the instructions we have for Last Days living are relentlessly joyful and optimistic! And they were written while the believers were experiencing massive attacks from all directions! Let’s take a look.

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Faithful In Practice: Shining As Lights

As we conclude this 6-part study on “End Times” actions and attitudes, we will focus on practical instructions from Peter. As a persecuted and eventually martyred disciple, Peter has much to tell us about living for Jesus while in troubled times. Let’s look at two paragraphs from 1st Peter, chapter 1. I admit I have read this section of the Bible many times without noticing the “Last Days” connection. So I emphasized those phrases for us.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. (1 Peter 1:3-5 NLT)

When Jesus rose from the dead, He guaranteed the promise of salvation. He lives, and we will live. We have received all of this, but we won’t see it completely, and in all its reality, until the “last day.” No wonder the return of Jesus is known as the “Blessed Hope!” (See Titus 2:3). Peter continues (with my emphasis as above),

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT)

So Peter promises us an underlying joy in a world of troubles. We can have God’s peace while we live in a society that hates everything that we stand for. Our “priceless inheritance” is “beyond the reach of change and decay.” But he goes on to remind us that since we have this great treasure, we should act as if what we do here matters for eternity:

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. (1 Peter 1:13-15 NLT, emphasis mine)

When we realize what will soon be ours, it changes how we think and act right now. Even if it’s in the middle of terrible trouble. Peter is describing life in the Spirit, life in faith, “the assurance of things hoped for” as Hebrews 11 puts it. Peter continues:  

So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.(verse 1) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. (verse 9) Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (verses 11-12 – all TruthTexts from I Peter chapter 2 are from the New Living Translation)

We are to spread that “wonderful light” until Jesus calls us home or returns to get us. And Peter gives us a purpose for this obedience: That it will bring glory to God, and bring many into His Kingdom. We “see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25) and we have our marching orders, to walk in the Light, share Christ’s love, and live in the joyful realization that we will soon be home with Him. Amen!

Take Action!

First: Check my work! Be sure to look up the verses in this study in whatever translation of the Bible is the easiest for you to understand.* Read the whole section that each verse came from, and make sure that the words I have said about them are true. Once you are sure that I have given you accurate information, ask yourself the questions. Finally, ask God to show you what you should do next.

Jesus told us what to expect in this life. For example, why does the world hate us?

Jesus promises us that we will have many troubles.

What does He also promise us? (John 16:33 above)

Peter says to live with “great expectation.”

What “priceless inheritance” are we waiting to experience?  

Peter tells us to “prepare our minds for action and self-control.”

How will that change what you do and think?

We’re called “temporary residents” here.

If we are faithful, what will cause people give to thanks to God for us?

* I use many translations of the Bible in these articles. Any of them would serve to support the points made in the chapter. All verses with no listed translations are my own paraphrase; please check with your own favorite Bible to be sure I got the right idea.