Pretend It’s The End Part Three: “The Worst and Best Responses” –

A Bible Study for the New and Growing Follower of Jesus

By Timothy Smith, Posted in 2022

“Pretend It’s The End” Part Three:

The Worst and Best Responses

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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

“My Kingdom is not of this world. If it was, then my servants would fight to prevent my arrest,” explained Jesus to the Roman ruler, Pilate. (from John 18:36)

The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!” – Jesus, in Luke 12:2-3 NLT

More About Our Options

As we think about how to respond in the face of a world that seems to be rapidly spiraling downward, we have the three options we looked at last time. One: We can simply fall away, rejecting God out of anger and disappointment. Two: We can react just like any radical, attacking people online or even rioting in the streets. Three: Or we can quietly listen to the Spirit’s voice, and change into the most effective believers the world has ever seen. I have to take us back to those first two options for a moment, in order to show how radical the path of obedience truly is. In the world we live in, being a faithful believer is the most revolutionary, life-changing path ever!

In our new city, we have friends who are members of the local militia. A couple of summers ago, they stood in front of the buildings at a local shopping center, with their rifles ready, when a group of protesters in rented vans pulled in, apparently to start something. Seeing our friends standing there, the protesters left peacefully. But any other outcome could have been awful. And I can’t recommend the militia’s actions, because of the possible tragic consequences, regardless of how noble they feel their motivation may be. What happened to work that day in protecting a shopping center is not appropriate when believers defend their Faith. Thankfully, there are TruthTexts that give us clear guidance. Our defense is to witness more boldly! Matthew’s Gospel expands on the Luke verses posted at the beginning of this study.

“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!” (Matt. 10:26-27 NLT)

Jesus asks us to tell the truth boldly, because He will reveal and correct every secret evil, both by changing people’s hearts now, and by returning to judge the earth someday. And “Will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) Will He find his followers busy doing His work in His way? Or will He find people claiming to be believers, but are acting and thinking exactly like the world around them?

The Option of Faith and Obedience

When faced with policies and actions that are destroying our centers of power and even our way of life, how should we respond? If we react in anger and fear when the leaders and movements we have supported are swept from power, silenced, and humiliated, what have we become? James 1:20 is a verse that reminds us, “If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things that God wants done,” (CEV) “because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (NIV). Other articles have pointed out that the right thing done in the wrong way is still wrong. So what are we to do? Paul reminds us,

We do live in the world, but we do not fight in the same way the world fights. We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments and every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.

(2 Cor. 10:3-5 NCV)

So nothing lets us off the hook from our main mission, to preach the Gospel at the right time and the wrong time, as Paul said in 2 Timothy chapter 4. Paul also said, in Ephesians 5:11 “Don’t take any part in the evil actions of the darkened world all around you. Instead, expose those actions for what they really are.” And as Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine in the dark world in such a way that people will see your actions and give glory to God in heaven.” The Bible verses tell us that our resistance to the evil around us must be spiritual action for the Gospel, not human reaction to evil. Our light must shine brighter as the evil around us increases. With the Gospel, there’s no command to destroy anyone, no fight to regain our territory or influence. Paul expands on this in Romans 12. The whole chapter is wonderful, but a lot of it hits exactly what we are studying now. These verses explain how we will act if we choose to follow the Spirit instead of the world around us:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (verse 2). Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good (verse 9).

And Paul ends the chapter with specific instructions as to how we are to resist evil and promote good.

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them (verse 14).Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God (verses 17-19). Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good (verse 21).

And Peter spoke of how to act like Jesus when under fire from the evil world around us. Remember that both Paul and Peter had faced life-endangering persecution, and both eventually gave their lives for Jesus, which makes their words even more remarkable.

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for

you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever

deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge

when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He

personally carried our sins in his body on the cross, so that we can be dead to sin

and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. (1 Peter 2:21-24 NLT)

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The Most Difficult Option (But We Have the Best Help!)

We need to remember that Paul was persecuted, chased from town to town, and in various Roman prisons at the very time he was writing these things. Paul’s instructions to us were so opposite to the normal behavior of people in similar situations that he must have been speaking in the Spirit. And certainly, if we put these attitudes and actions into practice, it will only be by God’s power. That’s what choosing the best option, being led by the Spirit, really means. In the face of a country in turmoil, a society in crisis, a culture in free-fall, these Bible verses give us an opportunity to do amazing good, and lead many to Jesus. As Paul also reminded us, are living with evil people all around you, who have lost their sense of what is right. Among those people, you shine like lights in a dark world. (Phil. 2:14-15 ERV)

And at all times we need to be people of prayer. We should specifically pray that God’s love will flood the Earth, that His Kingdom will come soon. And we should not forget to pray for ourselves. Both Matthew and Luke’s Gospels record the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray, otherwise known as the “Lord’s Prayer.” We should be praying along these lines as we face the avalanche of troubles that must accompany a dying world.

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.

May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven

those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation,

but rescue us from the evil one. (For yours is the kingdom and the power

and the glory forever! Amen.) Matt. 6:9-13 NLT

The key point in this entire study is that Jesus wants to change hearts, not punish those who do wrong. Otherwise, there would be no hope for any of us, because once we were all God’s enemies! If, by the Spirit’s power, we remember that point, we will respond with “truth spoken in love” instead of with anger and hate. Our next study will look at the world’s attitudes and thought patterns, and how to replace them with God’s Truth.

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.

What are some things that people in today’s world do

when faced with what they think is wrong?

Do those actions make the situation better, or worse?

How is a believer asked to respond when faced with evil?

The study calls this the “best response.”

Why is the best response so difficult to do?

Why is it impossible to do without God’s help?

What is the key point of this study as found in the last paragraph?

Share other verses you can think of that tell us this.

Think of a time when you responded to evil with fear or anger.

Did the situation improve?

Did you feel better as a result of your actions?

Think back to the situation in the last question.

What would be the “best response” to that evil if you faced it again?

Remember that God can use you to strengthen other believers,

and even lead people to Him.

This week, pray (with me) that the Spirit will empower us to “overcome evil with good.”

* 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.