“A time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you.” (John 16:2–4, NIV 1984).
King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. (Acts 12:1–3, NIV 1984).
“Tell us,” [the disciples] said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” (Matthew 24:3, 9, NIV 1984).
“But the word of God continued to increase and spread.” (Acts 12:24, NIV 1984).
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9, 14, NIV 1984).
My Musings – It is very easy to look around and see, even in the western world, how in just one generation people have turned against Christianity. To become easily discouraged with a sense that the gates of hell are prevailing. We see it in the headlines every day. Some blatant persecution. Some subtle “dumbing down” of the Gospel. Some vicious hacking away upon the “rock” that the Church was built. Some gradual erosion of what was once held as moral absolutes. “This pleases the [emerging culture],” with many thinking that they are actually “offering a service to God.“
My Advice – Do not be shocked, because He told us that this time would come. Do not be discouraged, because He also told us the end of the story. In between this time and the end of the story, “stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV 1984). A great multitude are counting on it.