Most People's Love Will Grow Cold.
Matthew 24:1-28 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”
3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. 9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
15 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17 Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. 18 Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 22 Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told you in advance. 26 So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. 27 For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
Many today say that the church and Christians lack love. They say that intolerance to sin is lack of love. Jesus says: “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” To understand what cold love is it is helpful to first understand what Godly love is. Godly love is not to tolerate sin, but rather Godly love is demonstrated in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) God’s love does not tolerate sin, it provides a way out of sin. Jesus says: "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John14:15) The cold love that Jesus warns about is not the lack of love for other people it is the lack of love for God. The warning to the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:4 is: “ I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” In today’s text Jesus says: “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” If our love does not grow cold, we will endure to the end, we will keep the commandments of Jesus and preach the gospel of the kingdom to the whole world. If our love does not grow cold we will keep the first and foremost commandment as Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-40: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Lawlessness, sin, causes our love for God to grow cold. It separates us from God. If we don’t first love God with all of our heart, soul and mind, we cannot love others, nothing else matters.
Just prior to what Jesus says about cold love and lawlessness, He says: “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.” We are indeed called to love others, but we are mistaken, we have believed a false teaching, we are mislead, if we believe that the world will respond to our love by loving us in return. To receive the love of the world should not be the goal or motive of Christian love. God’s love is demonstrated through the cross. If we truly love others we will point them toward the cross, the symbol of the greatest love of all. If we tolerate, accept and condone the sin of the world, they will love us more. But, they will never know the love of the cross if there is no awareness of sin. In John 15:12-14 Jesus says: “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” Jesus love was that He gave His life to forgive and free the world from sin. The world’s response is not to love Jesus. In John 15:18-25 Jesus says: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’”
These are indeed challenging times we live in. Many of the things Jesus describes about the last days can certainly be said of our time. As believers it is important that we not allow lawlessness to cause our love to grow cold. Jesus promise is that: “The one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” We are to love one another, even our enemies and those who persecute us. The motivation for our love for them though should not be that we would in turn be loved by them. The motivation for our love should be that they would see the cross of Christ and know the love of God.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You, that You loved me, not my sin, but loved me while I was a sinner and because of Your love, You gave Your life for me. May my love never grow cold. May I, through the power of the Spirit, live to love You with my whole heart, soul and mind. Then with that same love, the love demonstrated on the cross, may I love others. Amen.