Thursday, March 2, 2017

Persecution Will Come

Mark 13:9-13

“But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.  And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” (Mark 13:9-10)

Jesus had just warned the disciples that in the coming ages they would be confronted with false teachers claiming to be the Messiah.  Many of them would use the events around them to persuade people that they needed to follow them to be prepared for God’s kingdom. 

Satan and his followers have always hated God,and Jesus said the Christians should not be surprised that they were hated.   In John 15:18-23 he had warned them, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin.  He that hateth me hateth my Father also.”

Jesus’ coming and living a sinless life called attention to how bad the others were, and those who took pride in their own goodness resented being shown up.  Rather than changing their own behavior they turned on Christ, attempting to destroy or discredit him.  Jesus warned that when he was no longer there, that hatred would be turned toward his followers.  Throughout history, the most virulent hatred has come from powerful false religions, and especially those who claim to be ‘Christian.’    

I John 4:7-8 advises, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”  The very fact that these groups are filled with hatred toward others proves they are not of God and do not know him, whether it was Judaism in the first century; the Catholic Church during the Inquisition; the Lutherans, Calvinists and Anglicans during the Reformation; or the Muslims today.   As Titus 1:16 says, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”

“But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” (Mark 13:11)

Rather than planning their defense and, Christians are to simply trust God and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through them.  Trusting the Holy Spirit, Jesus was able to silence both the Pharisees and the Sadducees, while the brilliant lawyer, Clarence Darrow was unable to overcome the Evolutionists in the Scopes Trial.  Human wisdom can never match the Holy Spirit’s power. 

“Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mark 13:12-13)

Relationships will provide no protection against satanically inspired hatred.  People will betray their own families, knowing it will result in death, just as we see in the honor killings in Muslim society.  Christians will be hated in every society, but those who remain faithful to Christ through the persecution will experience the Salvation he has promised while those who have not truly committed to Christ will fall away to escape the trials.  

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