In the last days, many deceivers will come in the name of Christ, even claiming to be him – and many will indeed be deceived (Mark 13:5)
In preparation for standing firm in the midst of such days – last days, (and any day after the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ is a “last day”), Christ’s disciples are called to “watch out” (Mark 13:5, 35, 37), “be on guard” (Mark 13:9, 23, 33), and “be alert” (Mark 13:33).
Jesus goes into detail about these false “Christs” by adding that these deceivers will even perform signs and miracles in an effort to mislead Christ’s followers. So our Lord tells us things ahead of time (Mark 13:23) so that we can be ready, be prepared, be on our guard.
And in these last days we will be hated because of Christ. He promises that truth in many places (Mark 13:13). In our day that hatred may come in the form of mere tolerance of our existence, or outright rebellion against our Lord’s revealed ethics of the Kingdom. It may come in a variety of forms, but for those who are faithfully following Christ, it will come.
But he who stands firm to the end will be saved (Mark 13:13). And we are able to stand firm by preparing ourselves ahead of time – being alert, on guard, watching out. Christ’s followers prepare in several ways.
First, we can’t be alert and on guard if we aren’t grounded in the truth – God’s truth. A man won’t recognize a false Christ if he doesn’t know the real one. Both a personal acquaintance with as well as a thorough knowledge about our Lord is a fundamental prerequisite for standing firm in the last days.
Second, we must be alert to our surroundings for we not only need to protect ourselves, but to truly love our neighbors we must also watch out for them. That may mean our family members, our co-workers, or literally our next-door neighbors. When false Christs and false prophets come on the scene (Mark 13:22), touting new morality, religious tolerance (by which is meant everything is equally valid) and humanistic reasoning for all areas of life, Christ’s shepherds are required to be ready and thus become militi Christi – soldiers or knights of Christ.
In the face of such spiritual attack, we certainly must cover the situation in prayer. But we mustn’t merely sit on our hands in our prayer closets. We are also called to be militant… in a manner of speaking.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:3-5)
We must stand up for Christ’s truth, his honor, and his glory as well as on behalf of our neighbors whom we are called to love as we love ourselves. And because we trust in the name of the Lord our God we will rise up and stand firm (Psalm 20:7-8)