“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me” (John 15: 20-21).
In Kingdom Come, I wrote that there will be suffering, worldwide, unlike anything we have seen since the early church, and from out of persecution, the wheat will emerge from the chaff, and then that will finally usher in the end. Rejoice, child of God! Christianity didn’t overcame the Roman Empire by the sword but through evangelism and martyrdom. The Holy Spirit is on the move today; God is moving in ways that might surprise, perhaps, even alarm, many believers.
If we are His disciples, then we should not expect better treatment from the world than our Master received. “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13). Sharing in Christ’s sufferings is cause for rejoicing, not something to be resisted, but unfortunately, resistance is exactly what the church has largely embraced. Persecution and martyrdom are frightening concepts, and both are in direct conflict with self-preservation. No wonder so many teachers have scoured the Bible looking for any justification so as to escape the tribulation to come, and no wonder it has been embraced wholeheartedly by so many in the church. Quoting Isaiah, Jesus said something to the crowd then, which is no less appropriate here, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules” (Matthew 15:8-9). Although we cannot, of course, share in the His atoning sufferings, we can share in the same kind of sufferings Jesus endured as a man; in fact, our Master has already told us that we will.
The Holy Spirit is on the move today; God is preparing His bride to endure the coming persecution and bear witness to His Gospel. The lesson of the widow’s offering continues to speak truth into our lives today; revival will emerge from out of our poverty, not our abundance, and our persecution will fan the flames. “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me” (John 15: 20-21). Brothers and sisters, again, let us fast and pray and repent, in preparation of what lies ahead. Let us walk into what is to come rejoicing in the Lord!
I don’t profess to have all the answers; in fact, the more I learn, and the more I grow, the more my need becomes apparent to me, but I know, with absolutely no doubt, that the Lord I call God is no counterfeit. Sadly, that is not true of everyone who proclaims to believe (Matthew 7:23); the enemy has spun quite the web for those who belong to him. Therefore, I close this post with a quote by Vance Havner: “The devil is not fighting religion; he’s too smart for that. He is producing a counterfeit Christianity so much like the real one that good Christians are afraid to speak out against it.”
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