Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Rise of Persecution in the Church

Now that the prophesied great apostasy is in full swing, are you noticing the buildup of hostilities? Jesus told us that even our families would turn on us as we boldly proclaim His Truth at home. And He warned that professing believers of the "synagogue of Satan" would accuse us as they did to Him. And of course the world powers would target us and marginalize us as they indeed do.

Persecution is only going to get worse - so hold onto your proverbial hat. The pressure put upon us is to silence us. If you are tempted to respond by retreat - rethink that. Remember our Master's words:

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” - Mark 8:38

I find it interesting that Jesus connects this to the end times when He comes back. We must set our faces like flint and keep doing what we're doing even while they hurl rotten tomatoes at us.

One very demonically inspired false accusation I'm getting a lot - and if you heed Jude 3 I'm sure you are as well - is that I hate people. That is why I challenge false teaching. I hate people because I am against churches that agree to doing same-sex weddings. I hate people because I use Romans 1 to renounce sodomy - so I must hate the gay community.

It is an ugly accusation when you know for a fact that your motivation is the exact opposite of hate. You warn people because you love them and do not want to see them come under the condemnation of God for following false teachers or being deceived by the world's propaganda.

The very people telling us that we hate others are the ones who hate us for what they see as narrow-minded thinking when we take the Bible to heart. They're the ones who clip out passages that they see as irrelevant in the modern world. Or they redefine them and tell us "Oh that's your interpretation" when you present them with a plain Bible verse. I always respond by challenging them to give the right interpretation - they never attempt that. They just resort to name-calling.

I love what God told the prophet Ezekiel when he was sent to prophesy and warn them of coming judgment:

“But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted. Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.” - Ez 3:7-9

We need to be thick skinned today. The opposition against the Truth of God's word is getting louder by the day. When such hatred is aimed at us, we need to realize that it is truly Jesus that they are angry at - we are not greater than our Master. If they hated Him, they would hate us also.

So stay strong in the LORD and keep on the lookout!

“But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake...You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake." Luke 21:12,16

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