The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
Christians the world over have always known persecution. From the days of the early church, our brothers and sisters have known sorrows, tortures and even death. It continues and even today, our Church suffers at the hands of the wicked.
There are other types of persecution and some Christians have experienced it at the hands of their employers, their governments and even their own families. When Jesus told us that brother would betray brother, the father the son, and children rising against their own parents, He was preparing our hearts for the rejection that accompanies salvation. He did not leave us comfortless, however, He has revealed to us the Way, and has given us all things needful for godly living and ministry.
2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Further, Peter teaches that when the trials of our faith would come, not to think it strange, but these very trials are refining us, making us meet for the Master’s use.
1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
These sufferings are conforming us to the image of the Son of God, whereby we are perfected and know that His grace is sufficient for us.
When Jeremiah prophesied to the children of Israel, the Lord prepared him to face a persecution so great that he was left near dead in a pit. Jeremiah’s mission was to prophesy to sinners in hopes that they would amend their hearts and return to the Living God. He was prepared, equipped and hardened to face the onslaught of rebuke and violence from a kingdom that had rejected the King of glory for a kingdom of their own.
Jer 1:8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. 10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
One can only imagine the heart of Jeremiah as he was the subject of consistent scorn and hatred by his own countrymen. This prophet was born of the tribe of Levi, called to minister in the Holy Place and to teach the children of Israel the ways of the Lord. Sadly, his witness to the truth was rejected because though light had come into their world, men loved their darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.
No greater object of persecution and suffering exists than in the Lord Jesus Christ. This rightful King of Israel came to His own and His own received Him not. Despite the glorious miracles and teachings that came forth, despite the mighty witness He displaed as being The Holy One, he was rejected, but for a few. The religious hierarchy especially hated Him and fought Him at every turn. These wicked men condemned the Prince of Life to a gruesome death because they feared that all Israel would follow God’s Annointed One and they would lose their power:
Joh 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
We can expect similar persecutions today. Many religious institutions continue to usurp the Spirit of God and will cast a truth proclaimer out of their gatherings. They fear when the Light of Christ’s Word exposes their lies, as they may lose their positions. Do not expect to be accepted by these who refuse to submit to the counsel of scripture. You are standing in their way brothers and sisters. They will speak all manner of evil against you, joining with the accuser as they did against Christ.
When we share the truth of the gospel with sinners, most will hate us. The message of salvation is an offense to the disobedient and as the years go on, we see Christianity growing more and more as an object of scorn. Government legalizes the most grotesque types of sin man can perform and the deceived believe that evil is good.
Brothers and sisters, today if you are facing persecution for the witness of Christ, rejoice! When your mother and father forsake you, the Lord will raise you up! When mockers scoff at the Light of Christ shining within you, remember Jesus suffered the same reproach. When your children resist the counsel of Christ and go their own way, remember the Prodigal Son and know that as long as there is life, there is hope. Your prayers are heard dear saints, do not give up hope!
1Pe 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
Christ in you, the hope of glory is yet to be revealed in the ultimate finality that is to come. But until then, His Spirit is working in the earth to bring forth a godly seed into His Kingdom. The command to be fruitful and multiply is manifested every time you lead a soul to Christ and your labor is often met with resistance, hatred and scorn.
Do not give up sisters and brothers. Do not return to Egypt, to a life where everyone loved you and you got along with everyone. Resist the urge to draw back, less you become worthless salt as Lot’s wife. Know that you have been given a glimpse of the glory that is yet to be revealed to all that love Him, and you have also been given knowledge of condemnation that will fall upon those who reject the Spirit of truth.
Stand, do not give up, rejoice, pray without ceasing, cry out to God, fight the good fight of faith, bless those who hate you, bless and curse not! The eyes of the Lord are upon your mission is laid out before you:
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: :20 eaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Like Jeremiah, you will be equipped, prepared, strengthened and anointed to perform the ministry set before you. Do not fear as Jeremiah did, do not run away like Jonah! The apostle Paul fought beasts at Ephesus and more –
2Co 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Paul also looked to the crown of life that awaited him and knew what the crown would cost him:
Act 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
Paul’s love for Jesus was so powerful that he never gave up his calling. The revelations Paul received strengthened him to fight against the wiles of the devil wherever he went, and though he suffered many things he could say – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! So can you dear saint of God. So can you.