In our teaching today we are looking at what I see as the sixth responsibility of His Remnant Church; to suffer persecution for the cause of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those true believers and followers of Christ who make up His Remnant Church are about to face unprecedented persecution worldwide. And while I believe this to be true, as I stated in our last part in this teaching, in the end we will wear a robe and crown, we will reign with Christ for eternity, and as the hymnist Esther Kerr Rushthoi has so correctly written, “It will be worth it all when we See Jesus!”
From its very inception the True Church has experienced persecution. In Acts 4 we find recorded the beginning of, what will become a constant position of, persecution that the True Church and true Christians face throughout the age of grace. The Church of Jesus Christ has in one way or another always faced persecution and will, until He calls us to be with Him. Organized religion and a corrupted, or legalistic, or liberal apostate form of Christianity have probably always been the greatest persecutors of the True Church. Persecution manifests itself in many forms and for various reasons; some may be political, some may be social, some may be religious, but in the life of the true follower of Christ it is always personal. And, while the True Church has always suffered persecution, it is increasingly more subtle today than it has ever been.
In many places in the world today, Christians are facing physical persecution and genuine suffering. Even in the United States some Christians face physical persecution, and I believe in the very near future, that suffering and persecution will intensify. However, today more subtle forms of persecution are in evidence. Christians are told where we can or cannot share our faith. In the name of tolerance and compromise we are told we must ignore our beliefs and convictions in order not to cause offense to others, especially when our beliefs and convictions condemn their behavior as sin. Satan’s attacks on true followers of Christ today often focus on our desire for acceptance or on our ego. Satan would have us believe that if we make a stand for Christ, or witness for Christ, we might be looked at as strange or we might lose our job or social status. Yet Christ has called us to separation. (John 15:19, 2 Corinthians 6:17)
No matter the form of the persecution, whether it be overtly physical or covertly mental, Satan is always antagonistic toward the true follower of Jesus Christ and his True Church. This in and of itself is evidence of the problem in the “church” today. Many mainstream, denominational, and institutional “churches” today have watered down their theology to accommodate the world. Satan has infiltrated the church with materialism, secular humanism, easy believeism, and paganism. He has destroyed the effectiveness of the church by making it fat, rich, social, tolerant, complacent, and indolent. In effect, in their efforts to avoid persecution most “churches” today have abandoned the True Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But, in the True Church, what we see as His Remnant Church, today there is an understanding of persecution as an inherent part of true Christianity. In John 15:18 & 19 Jesus said; “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.” This is why the Apostle John warned Christians; “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” 1 John 2:15. When Christians fall in love with world they no longer stand against it, and unbelievers will no longer be offended by them. This has the effect of giving Satan the victory.
The true follower of Christ will remember Christ’s words in John 15:20 & 21; “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.” The apostle Paul warned Timothy; “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” 2 Timothy 3:12. And the Apostle Peter said; “Beloved, do 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.
So the true follower of Christ will understand that if you’re not being persecuted, the world does not see you as a threat, which means you haven’t made a stand for Christ, your Christianity is hidden, and you’re living the same way that unbelievers do. When you openly live your life for Christ you will openly live in contrast to the world, and persecution will become automatic because you are openly confrontational with Satan and those who do his bidding. The price that we may be called to pay for confronting Satan and standing for Christ is always worth paying. Christ paid our sin debt at Calvary, and our reward for faith and willingness to stand for Him is our eternal life. In Ephesians 6:10 Paul encourages us to; “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” and in doing so God is able to work through us.
In these Last Days our mission as the Church of Jesus Christ, His Remnant Church, is to share the gospel. We are to live our lives so that people see Christ in us, and see us standing unwaveringly, unashamedly, and unconditionally for Him. Our source of strength is Jesus Christ through His written Word, and it is only through our knowledge and understanding of His Word that we can experience the grace and power we need to endure suffering and persecution.
From the very beginning of the church in Acts 4, through the persecutions of organized Judaism against the Apostles and the persecution of pagan Rome; to the false teaching of the Gnostics and the institutionalization of Catholic Christianity; to the persecution of imperialism, fascism and communism; and to Islamic persecution as well as other false religions; and to the cults of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, Scientology, Christian Science, as well as many other heretical groups; the Church of Jesus Christ has suffered persecutions from the outside and false teaching from within. Yet today, His Remnant Church, the True Church of Jesus Christ still stands as a light to the world in these Last Days.
Jesus Is Coming Soon! Therefore Stand until He does!
Sometimes the day seems long, our trials hard to bear.
We´re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair.
But Christ will soon appear to catch his bride away!
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day!
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus!
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.
One glimpse of his dear face, all sorrow will erase.
So, bravely run the race till we see Christ. Esther Kerr Rushthoi