Friday, April 28, 2023
Jesus Christ made many promises to whoever would by grace through faith, follow Him; promises of everlasting life in that eternal City, the New Jerusalem with “many mansions”. He promised that “if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2–3). That promise speaks to the end goal of our faith. We do not have it now, but patiently wait for it. But in the meantime there are other promises that inure to Christians; of persecution and hardships. It’s part of the “difficult way” of faith that the Lord promised when He said “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13–14); “many” vs “few”.
If you’re involved with an organized evangelical church, you know that you fairly often hear of heaven, but seldom, if ever, of hell. That’s because many people have “itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3) and reject what they perceive as negative. Many equate info of heaven as good, but info of hell, negative. The same is true of persecutions. Because persecutions are largely untaught, and many believers do not read and study the Word for themselves “when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matt. 13:21). Teachings that persecutions are part of a Christian’s life is more often than not poorly received, being offensive to many people.
No Christian wants to suffer persecution: “the act of persecuting; the state of being persecuted; a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate people based on their membership in a religious, ethnic, social, or racial group” (Dictionary.com). Yet, that’s the promise by Christ to His true followers. Jesus warned His followers: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet, because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you. A servant 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 Him who sent Me” (John 15:18–21). “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).
God wants you to know that we’ve entered the season of the end-times, the time when Satan’s final push will increasingly attempt to “exterminate, drive away or subjugate” true Christians. If you’ve been paying attention to current events, you know that Satan’s attack on humanity made in the image of God is dramatically increasing. The world’s mandates of “equity, diversity, and inclusion” is about the destruction of mankind with its rabid LGBTQ+ and transgender agendas. Satan attempted the same thing in the days of Noah, and in the days of Lot. And Christ warned us that as it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. We’ve entered those days, and it’s critically vital that we are prepared to stand for the Word of God in the face of the ungodly and unbelieving world’s ever-increasing persecution of true Christians.
Jesus was very clear when He said “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13). I encourage you in Christ, make that your goal, with your loved ones and those in your influence.
Marlin J. Yoder