“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
“When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
We who are followers of Jesus Christ are to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. We are to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations, teaching them to obey the Lord’s commands (New Covenant). We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to proclaim the excellencies of God who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light (Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Pet 2:9).
But we are being sent out into the world with the gospel as sheep being sent out among wolves, for not everyone is going to receive what we have to say. In fact, many people will reject us and the message of the true gospel, and they will oppose us and turn against us, and they will treat us badly, and they will do and speak evil against us, like how they treated Jesus.
And the essence of the gospel is this that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Peter 2:24), and that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (2 Co 5:15). He shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would honor God with our bodies (1 Co 6:19-20).
Also, we are not supposed to live any longer like the ungodly, giving ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. For that is not how we should have learned Christ. We should have been taught “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:17-24; cf. Lu 9:23-26).
So, when we share this gospel with others, like we are supposed to do, we should expect to be treated like Jesus was treated and like the apostles were treated. We should anticipate that we will be delivered over to the courts (or other authorities, such as pastors). We should expect to be mistreated and persecuted. We should anticipate that we will be rebuked and kicked out of gatherings of others who call themselves followers of Jesus, too.
But we should not fear them. We should not be afraid of those who can kill the body but who can’t kill the soul. We also should not fear what we are going to say, for the Holy Spirit will give us the words to say when the time is right. We should also not fear their wrath against us or what they might do to us or say about us to others. For God is still in control.
Persecuted by Your Own Family
The really hard part about all this, though, is not only that other Christians and pastors will turn on us and against us, but even our family members will oppose us. And some of them may end up delivering us up to death. They may be the ones to turn us over to the authorities when it becomes illegal to share the gospel in its fullest form. Or they might just ignore us and want nothing to do with us, or they may slander us to others, etc.
And it could be that if you are walking closely with the Lord, and if you are following in his footsteps, and if you are following him in his ways and in his truth but your spouse is not, your spouse may find other ways of hurting you, such as cheating on you, committing adultery, lying to you, and then lying about you to others so that they will be against you, too.
He (or she) may become one flesh with another, which could be another man or woman (opposite sex or not), or the “other lover” could be his or her own self. For your spouse may prefer self-gratification to pure and loving intimacy with you, his or her spouse. For self is his/her god, not God, and self is his/her spouse, not you. And this is intended to hurt you.
But it is the one who endures to the end who will be saved, so don’t let the persecution take you out or make you reject God and his ways. God is not evil. He is not doing evil to you. Yes, he allows evil to exist, but it is evil people who do evil acts. So, don’t let what other people do to you impact your walks of faith. Keep on following Jesus. You will be glad you did.
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
What is Covered
Right now there are a lot of things being covered up, such as secret sins which are being covered with lies. There are also covert plans being carried out in secret by people in high up positions in the church, in big businesses, and in world governments on a global scale, which are leading to a One World government and religion, both of which are opposed to God.
And there are people who may tell lies about us and/or to us and we may have no way of proving that they are lying or that they are doing evil against us behind our backs, be it evil that we are somewhat aware of, though. For we have no control over what other people do or what they say. We have enough to do to make sure that we are doing what is right.
Nonetheless, we are not to let these things worry us or intimidate us, but we are to keep on doing and saying what God has given us to do and to say. We need to keep speaking the truth, even if we end up getting rejected and mistreated for it in return. For there are many people who do not want to hear the truth, including many who claim they are Christians.
Also, we have to believe that God cares about us and that he is watching over us and that he is going to take care of us and see us through every one of these difficult circumstances and relationships which come into our lives. He has it handled. Yes, it hurts! But we have to keep our focus on our calling in Christ Jesus and what that means for eternity for other people.
So, when this says here that everyone who acknowledges Jesus before men he will also acknowledge before His Father who is in heaven, he is not talking about a mere verbal acknowledgment. He is talking about our lifestyles, how we live, either for him or for self and for self-pleasure. For we deny him also by how we live, and if we live for self and not for him, he will deny us before the Father who is in heaven.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2]
The Lord’s Anointed
An Original Work / December 16, 2011
Based off Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Sov’reign Lord on me;
Anointed to preach the Good News;
Sent me to bind up the brokenhearted;
Proclaim freedom for the captives.
He sent me to preach release for pris’ners
Who are walking in sin’s darkness;
Proclaim God’s grace to all men who’ll listen;
And tell them about God’s judgments;
Comfort all who mourn;
Give crowns of beauty;
Oil of gladness and thanksgiving.