John 16:33 NIV
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Trouble in the World
As the year 2020 is now coming to an end, and as we reflect back over all the events and situations of this past year, I think we can all clearly concur that in the world we will have trouble.
And I am fully aware that people of other nations (other than the USA) have had to undergo much more severe trouble than what 2020 brought upon us, and they have had to undergo it not just in one year, but perhaps all their lives. So, what 2020 brought us in the USA pales by comparison.
But even though one person’s or one nation’s troubles far outweigh that of another’s, it does not make it any less troublesome to go through difficulties, no matter how minor or major. Trouble is still trouble.
And it isn’t over. Anyone who has been paying close attention to the events which have been going on this past year, not just in the USA, but globally, can see where this is all headed. So, much more severe trouble is most certainly on its way. The Bible says so!
What that is going to look like for us in 2021, only God really knows. For, even though there are evil people out there in the world plotting evil against us, they can only do what they do if God allows it. He is still completely sovereign over all things. He is still the one in control.
In Him We Have Peace
Jesus was honest with his disciples about what was coming, which involved Jesus’ suffering and death on a cross. And it also involved them all deserting him when he was arrested and put on trial for a crime he did not commit.
But he also told them ahead of time what they could expect, too, once he was gone.
“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are 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 their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.” Jn 16:1-4 NIV
But this wasn’t just for them for that time. Even though, in the USA, we as the body of Christ as a whole have not had to undergo such severe suffering for being Christians, thus far, it doesn’t mean we are going to escape such suffering. For, Jesus promised all of us we would have to suffer in this way.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matt 24:9-14 NIV
We are already seeing much of this take place. Those who are really serious about their walks of faith, who are following the Lord in obedience, who are standing on the word of God, and who are not compromising with the world of sin, are being persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
Some (or many) of us have already experienced being put out of “houses of worship,” i.e., institutional churches, because we did not conform to the worldly marketing schemes being engaged by these “churches,” and because we remained true to the gospel, and we did not compromise the truth.
They may not have killed us physically, yet, but they have rejected, persecuted, abandoned, snubbed, ignored, falsely accused, and otherwise ostracized us because of our walks of faith and our obedience to our Lord. For, so much of today’s church has become one with the world.
We are already seeing many false prophets and teachers arise and deceive the masses, and the vast majority of what is called “church” turn away from their pure devotion to Christ to follow these false teachers with their false messages of salvation from sin based on a lie.
But with the internet right now still being open to us sharing the truth of the gospel, the gospel has been able to spread throughout the world. I don’t know if it has reached the whole world yet, but I know that people of many nations can read the preaching of the gospel on the internet.
But with all these things taking place in the world all around us, and trouble is everywhere, we can still be at peace. And that peace comes through surrendering our lives to Jesus, submitting to his Lordship over our lives, forsaking our lifestyles of sin and now walking in obedience to his commands. And it is an inward peace, not peace as the world gives.
He Has Overcome
The reason we can have peace is because Jesus overcame the world. He was already completely sovereign over all that he created, but in his death and resurrection he conquered sin, hell, Satan, and death on our behalf. And he did this so that we would be delivered from our slavery to sin, and so we would now become slaves of him and of his righteousness.
The false teachers will come to you with their false gospel proclaiming that Jesus died to forgive you of your sins and to guarantee you heaven based on some confession of Christ or some prayer that you prayed. Their message is partially true, but it is partially false, for it is a half-truth gospel.
The truth in Christ Jesus is, with regard to our former way of life, we are taught that we must put off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires. We are to be made new in the attitude of our minds, of the Spirit of God, and we are to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:17-24; cf. Rom 6:1-23; 1 Pet 2:24).
And this is where the peace comes, when we surrender our all to Jesus, we commit our lives to him and to his service, and we trust him completely with our lives no matter what this next year brings, which could be much worse than the year which is ending.
Only God truly knows what is in store for us, but he said we would be able to recognize the times in which we live by the signs, which are fulfillments of what was prophesied in Scripture regarding these times. So, surrender your life to Jesus today.
Do You Love Me?
An Original Work / July 24, 2013
Do you love Me now?
Will you seek My face?
I have given you
My love and My grace.
Will you walk with Me
Ev’rywhere I lead?
Will you find in Me
All of what you need?
Won’t you meet with Me
Down upon your knees?
Will you obey Me,
And do what I please?
Will you hear My voice
Speaking now to you?
I am couns’ling you
To abide in truth.
I have died for you;
Taken all your sins –
Crucified with Me,
You have been forgiv’n.
I have set you free
From your slavery,
So that you can now
Live in victory.