Friday, January 23, 2009

Be warned and ready - persecution will come

John 15 (The Message)

18-19"If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world's terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God's terms and no longer on the world's terms, the world is going to hate you.
20"When that happens, remember this: Servants don't get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you. If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them.

John 16 (The Message)

1-4 "I've told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead. They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he's doing God a favor. They will do these things because they never really understood the Father. I've told you these things so that when the time comes and they start in on you, you'll be well-warned and ready for them.

I want to mention not only of persecution from godless people, which is understandable but also the persecution from within God's people which tends to be overlooked. During the time of Jesus on earth, He was persecuted not by the sickly or demon-possessed folks but by the religious followers- like the Scribes, Pharisees, Chief Priest of the temple…. They know the law but they did not know Jesus, the anointed one. Jesus had the strongest words against the Pharisees during His ministry on earth.During Paul's ministry, he also encountered the same hassle with the religious people from within.

Jesus, our master was persecuted from people within the fellowship who thought they knew the Father and were doing God a favour, so we will expect no difference is the warning of Jesus to us. Religious persecution will come and it will be like what our Master endured, it will be persecution and hatred from within by religious zealots- followers of the law... (the old covenant).

If you know the Father heart of God, if you have a living relationship with the Father, if God’s love is residing in you, if you lived in the finished work and grace of Christ, then know this – persecution will come ....and you can be thrown out of the meeting!. Jesus said “ you'll be well-warned and ready for them”.

The perfect love of God in the person of Jesus is in us,as the God of the Word in 1Jn4 v18 says "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."(NIV). Hence, we should not fear but be well-warned and be ready for them in love.

Enjoy and rejoice because of the love of Jesus in you, the hope of glory.

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