Friday, August 10, 2018
Many Christians in America dismiss end-time persecutions as improbable, thinking America is too special or too great for that, but real persecution is near for which we must be strong in the Lord Jesus who said, “he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). We’ve all seen our culture’s hostile intolerance of Christian values, but much worse will soon be reality.
From CNSNews.com, 7/26/2018: “Rep. Gohmert: Hate Crime Laws Will Be ‘Used to Persecute Christians’ – At a conference for young conservatives on Wednesday, House Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said that he knew ‘hate crime legislation … would one day be used to persecute Christians’…‘I knew 10 years ago, when hate crime legislation was being pushed, that it would one day be used to persecute Christians, and that is coming about – U.S. Commission on Civil Rights talks about this hate group, evangelical Christians.’”
Don’t miss the fact that the majority of America’s law-givers identify evangelical Christians as a hate group. That’s because evangelicals teach Biblical truths of sin and righteousness, and Christ promised, that, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). However, the cost of that is too great for many, and in self-preservation have exchanged the truth for a lie, and have grown cool toward Christ in order to remain in good standing with the intolerant culture.
“In a commentary he wrote on the hate crime law, Gohmert gives an example where someone who shoots a homosexual after hearing a religious leader preach “that homosexuality is wrong and leads to the ultimate destruction of moral society,” it could be argued that “the teaching of the minister/rabbi/imam is what ‘induced’” the shooter to commit the crime.”
While homosexuality in fact destroys moral society, it destroys human reproduction, and it’s approved by much of the church! But it’s Satan’s plan to destroy mankind made in the image of God and to also destroy the true Church. The days of Lot are upon us and many church leaders falsely make the LGBTQ community feel as though they are part of the body of Christ.
And to accommodate the ungodly culture many progressive Christian leaders have created false bridges of unity between Muslims and Christians; Orthodox Jews and Christians, and practicing homosexuals and Christians. But Christ has already built the bridge at the cross and it cannot be improved upon. Christians creating any other bridges notably fear persecution if they were to otherwise stand in solidarity with the unchangeable truths of God’s Word.
Have you noted over the last two decades the number of denominational churches that split over homosexuality? They’re numerous. While “the falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3) has truly begun, with the greater and sudden portion thereof yet to come in the tribulation, many compromised leaders not only approve of homosexuality, but appoint practicing LGBTQ people to the pulpit and other Church offices. But we who believe and honor Christ remember His prophetic Words, saying, “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt. 24:25).
Rapidly, now, the true Christian is becoming increasingly unacceptable not only in American culture, but the greater global culture. In fact, speaking of our end-time days, Jesus warned that “you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” (Matt. 24:9). That’s occurring even now.
Now, we must strengthen ourselves in Christ by bringing our will under God’s authority. Eternal life will be ours “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which was preached to every creature under heaven” (Col.1:23); and by “building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 20–22). In this, don’t miss our obligation to bring our will subject to God.
The choice is ours. Just as God created Adam and Eve with a free will, so He created us; and with it the ability to reason together with the gospel of God in Christ, to believe Christ whom God raised from the dead for the eternal life of all who would by faith believe in Him, but “he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
Salvation that costs one nothing is the seedbed of mediocrity at best, and contempt at worst. The cross was costly to Christ, and salvation is costly to all His would-be followers. Jesus said “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, [being one’s will] and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Even King David desiring to sacrifice to the Lord God “said to Araunah, ‘No, I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing” (2 Sam. 24:24).
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise” (Psa. 51:17). More often than not, however, affliction and/or tribulation is required to break human pride and create a contrite heart. And “the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).
Because God wants us to be prepared for coming persecutions and tribulation, He reminds us to “not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12–13).
Know that “The Lord tests the righteous” (Psa. 11:5); and “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts” (Prov. 17:3); and “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold which perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7).
Be encouraged to exercise your free will toward Christ in true faith to endure to the end. God did not create us with a preset robotic response to His invitation, but desires our worship and faith from our free will brought under the Headship of Christ. That truth will release in us an authentic Holy Spirit-endowed power and praise to worship God no matter the costly price of being His disciple. So, be strong and rejoice in the Lord God and worship Him in spirit and in truth!
Marlin J. Yoder