Tribulation and Persecution

Summary John 13-15

It was the time of the Feast of the Passover. Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father. He washed his disciples feet. Judas departed to go betray Jesus. Jesus announced that he was soon to depart this world. Then Peter boldly declared undying devotion to Jesus and Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him three times.

Then Jesus let them know that he was going to prepare a place for them and that he would come back one day and he would take them to be with him. Jesus told his disciples that after he left that they would do the works that he did, that all who believed in him would do the works that he did and even greater works than Jesus did, because he was going to the Father.

Then Jesus began to teach them some lessons. He said that if they loved him that they would keep (obey) his commandments. And then he promised them the Holy Spirit who would teach them all things and bring to remembrance all that Jesus had said to them. And then he spoke with them about the importance of abiding in him and of bearing much fruit.

He talked with them also about the importance of loving one another. And he also told them to expect that the world would hate them because it hated him. He said that if they persecuted him that they would also persecute Jesus’ followers. And then he comforted them with more words with regard to him sending them the Holy Spirit.

John 16:1-2 ESV

“I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.”

So, “these things” are the things he said to his disciples as recorded for us in the previous chapters. He was going to leave them, but he was not going to leave them alone. He was going to send them the Holy Spirit who would then be their teacher as he had been. He was preparing a future home for them and one day he would come back for them.

They were to love him by obeying his commandments, they were to love one another, they were not to be afraid, and they would be persecuted for righteousness’ sake just as he had been persecuted. Thus, he prepared them for what was coming so that when these things did take place that they would remain strong in their faith and so they would not fall away.

And since that time we have been given many more instructions with regard to how we are to live and concerning the things that would take place, some of which are now taking place. And so we have been given even more information on what we should expect in these days prior to our Lord’s return when he comes to take his followers to be with him (Matt-Rev).

So, if we are following Jesus Christ with our lives, if we are daily dying to sin and to self, and if we are following our Lord in obedience to his commands, and if we are loving others in the way in which Jesus loves us, we should be experiencing some serious persecution. In America we aren’t experiencing it to the degree people do in other nations, but it is here definitely!

If we are really serious about our walks of faith, and if we are obeying the teachings of Scripture, and if we are proclaiming the truth of the gospel, and if we are dispelling and exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness, and if we are preaching repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord, we are going to be put out of these modern day market-driven “churches.”

Even if they may not put us out, we should be leaving them anyway, for the Scriptures teach that we are to come of Babylon so that we don’t share in her sins and in her punishment, for her sins are piled high to heaven. We should not be participating in these gatherings called “church” which are not teaching the truth and which are following after the ways of the world.

John 16:3-4 ESV

“And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.”

If you make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ it does not mean that you know God the Father and God the Son. You may know of him or about him, and you may have a lot of head knowledge about the Scriptures, and you may even be a teacher of the Scriptures, but that doesn’t automatically mean that you know God, that you know Jesus intimately.

There are many people in America calling themselves Christians who are professing faith in Jesus Christ but who are not in intimate relationship and fellowship with the God that they profess. They know a lot about him, though, but sometimes that knowledge is skewed by what they have been taught in these institutional churches or by their human traditions.

They are religious people. They gather together weekly with others who also profess faith in Jesus Christ, and they go through the motions of religious practice and performance according to their human traditions, and some of their practices may be according to Scripture, but many are not, for few church gatherings in America are truly biblical gatherings in their purest sense, at least from what I can gather and have experienced.

Many people, too, are professing faith in Jesus Christ who are believing in a gospel that is not taught in the Scriptures but that is created in the minds of humans in order to pacify the flesh and its sinful desires. So they make a decision to “believe” in Jesus largely based on Scriptures taught out of context, but then their lives are not transformed of the Holy Spirit.

For, they continue living not much differently than they lived before they believed in Jesus. They continue living in deliberate and often premeditated and habitual (addictive) sin against the Lord, and some of them without conscience. And some of them will regularly confess their sins but will not turn away from their sins to follow Jesus in surrender and in obedience.

And so they will persecute those who believe in Jesus who are following Jesus Christ with their lives, who are following the Scriptures. And they will kick them or invite them out of their gatherings. And they will want nothing to do with them, and they may even falsely accuse them of things they did not do, and it is because they don’t truly know Jesus that they do this.

John 16:33 ESV

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

So, the Lord Jesus has given us these words of encouragement here. Yes, we are going to face tribulation, and yes, we are going to be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, even by others who profess faith in Jesus Christ but who do not know Jesus intimately. But in Christ we have peace. And in Christ we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world. Amen!

Only Hope

By Jonathan Foreman

I give you my destiny
I’m giving you all of me
I want your symphony
Singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs
I’m giving it my all

So, I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours I pray
To be only yours
I know now you’re my only hope

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