By Jerry Baysinger
The Body of Christ is made up of many members, speaking many languages, living in many different countries, having many individual talents, and having Christ Jesus, Y’shua Messiah, as the Head. The Body has been given an assignment to preach the Gospel of Christ Jesus to all the population of the world. The purpose? To prepare planet Earth to be an extension of heaven itself, to fulfill part of the Lord’s Prayer which says, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth, as it is in heaven.”

But we face a problem here, as it says in 2 Timothy 4:1-5,
1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 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;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

You see, not everyone wants to hear the Good News of the Gospel. Actually, MANY would prefer to hear the lies of the devil, and if you don’t think so, just have a look around at the present political scene. Every day I’m appalled at what I see and hear on the news, how people who once were pretty level-headed have become almost insane by listening to the lies of the devil. In my wildest dreams I never thought I’d live to see so much evil in the world, and this is only the beginning of it! Each new day brings another outlandish evil rearing its ugly head, with no end in sight. And it will continue to be so until Christ Jesus returns and takes over. We can only hope it’s SOON-VERY SOON!

Perhaps we think it can’t get much worse, but it can, and it WILL. Christians are losing their lives all over the world for their testimony for Christ Jesus. Sooner or later, it’s coming here, too. Some of us will live out our lives in peace, while others of us will die for our faith in Christ Jesus. We must count the cost of being a follower of Jesus. A very sobering warning is written in Matthew 10:16-25,

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

There are those who think becoming a Christian brings them into a life of blessing, prosperity, and all around good times in this world, but that’s also a lie of the devil. You see, Jesus himself told His disciples that they would be hated and persecuted for their testimony for Him. That means you may DIE for your faith. People don’t want to hear that part, they only want to hear the GOOD parts, that is, about the reward of everlasting life with God. And those who endure to the END will inherit everlasting life with God. I’m not wanting to scare anyone off, I’m just wanting you to know what you’re signing up for. That way, when trouble comes your way for the sake of the Word of God, you won’t be caught off-guard and wonder, “WHY is this happening to me?

It’s not a matter IF persecution will arise for the Word’s sake, it’s WHEN. And if you aren’t absolutely in love with Christ Jesus when it happens, you’ll fall away.

When I enlisted in the Army, basically I gave them my life and said I belonged to them, and swore my allegiance up to and including my very life to defend our Country. Well, when you ask Christ Jesus to forgive your sins and be your LORD and Savior, you are doing the same thing exactly, that is, you’re placing your REAL LIFE, that is your Soul and Spirit in the hands of God to do with as He sees fit. And that also includes your body, by the way. As in any army, some live, some die. When we sign up for the military, we hope for the best, but we have no guarantee we will come out alive and in one unharmed piece. In my particular case, I came out alive, but not unharmed. So to this day I live with the effects of my enlistment.

And as a soldier for Christ Jesus, my life is in His hands, and I may or may not become a physical casualty for my faith, BUT……if I am faithful to the END, I will be saved unto life everlasting. Not every soldier dies, and not every soldier lives, but every soldier is expected to serve to the utmost of their ability and not entangle themselves in the affairs of the world. And those who are faithful to the end receive a reward.

Here is something noteworthy in Luke 13:22-30,
22 And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.
23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

I guess what I’m asking here is, “Do you have what it takes to be a disciple of Christ Jesus, to endure to the END?”

The reward indeed is great, but the cost is, too. We must count the cost before rushing headlong into making promises we may decide later not to keep. If we enter covenant with Christ Jesus, we can be sure He will keep His part. And we can be assured He will give us the grace to endure whatsoever is required of us if we truly love Him. But whether we will endure to the END is not God’s decision. It isn’t the devil’s decision. It is entirely up to us. Counting the cost FIRST is the best defense against falling away when trouble comes. First, ask yourself this: What is my soul worth to me?

Jesus asked Himself what your soul was worth to Him, and He decided your soul was worth laying down HIS OWN LIFE for. Knowing that should make your decision much easier. Count the cost: everlasting life with God is worth WHATEVER you have to endure!