Preparing For End Time Persecution

Preparing For End Time Persecution
Or
Desiring To Live Godly Lives
Lesson 1

An End Time Warning To Consider:
Asia Harvest posted an E-Bulletin #96 on Monday, April 26, 2021 @ 5:05 am Eastern Standard Time. It was entitled, “Preparing For Persecution – Lessons To Help You From The Chinese Church”. The article pictured four Asian brothers in Christ from the Henan Province, China. The article stated, “These four men have been first-hand witnesses and participants in the greatest revival in Christian history, and have spent a combined total of forty-seven years in prison for their present tense faith in Jesus Christ.”

The E-Bulletin quoted five [5] Scripture verses and five [5] important truths pertaining to persecution and the suffering of saints. Their goal and purpose was to make us, Americans, and other non-Asian believers, more aware of the biblical concept of persecution and suffering for Jesus. For the next five weeks of Wednesday’s mid-week messages of end time importance, we will focus on one Scripture and one biblical truth each week pertaining to preparing for end time persecution and our desiring to live godly lives in Christ Jesus.

Something To Consider:
The apostle Paul, in his opening of Philippians chapter 1, declared in verse 6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you [and in me] will perform it [or accomplish it] until the day of Jesus Christ [until His return in great glory and in overwhelming power].”

Most mainstream churches have declined to present a message concerning persecution and our suffering for Christ’s sake. But the early church was fully aware first-hand, of the persecution and the suffering for Christ’s sake that followed true believers. According to the written and preserved Word of God in verse 29 of Philippians chapter 1, “For unto you [all true believers in every generation] it is granted [given to us] on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”

Have we ever suffered for the sake of Christ Jesus? Are we at this very moment in our lives, suffering for Christ? Or do we know anyone who is suffering for Christ’s sake? According to the E-Bulletin by Asia Harvest, the church, the true church in China has suffered persecution and has survived that persecution for six decades.

This end time persecution has been wide spread among other areas in the world such as in North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and other Asian nations. This end time wide spread persecution is also rampant in Middle Eastern Muslim dominated areas as well.

Something Else To Consider:
And yet, according to Asia Harvest, the #1 important truth to be understood by the true body of Christ is as follows: “God is always in control!” Also, according to the Asia Harvest article, “If He [God] allows persecution to come, it’s for the good of His kingdom. In China, believers only experienced the full joy of intimacy with Jesus when they were in the furnace of affliction and after they came out the other side.”

Paul explained, concerning his personal suffering, in Philippians 1.12; “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” What is it that comes to the forefront of our minds and hearts when we too experience the fiery darts of affliction, suffering, and or persecution?

Something More To Consider:
Paul continued his treatise on suffering for Christ and the furtherance of the gospel in verse 20 of Philippians chapter 1, by stating for the record; “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing [not in suffering or in persecution] I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.”

Wow! People do not talk like that anymore. But maybe we should! Paul did not fear suffering. He did not fear persecution. And he did not fear death. What about us? Do we fear suffering? Do we fear persecution? Do we fear death? If so, it is a human response. But we are spiritual beings, if truly born-again. And if so, we are spiritually new creations in Christ Jesus. Therefore, greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world!

Therefore, let us never be crippled or side-tracked by a spirit of fear. For according to 2 Timothy 1.7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but [in its place He has given us a spirit] of power [and a spirit] of love and [a spirit] of a sound [clear thinking] mind.”

A Few Final Words:
Paul followed up verse 20 with his declaration of eternal allegiance to Jesus Christ, by acknowledging, “For to me [Paul, once called Saul the persecutor of believers] to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Have we placed our name among the ranks of those down through the centuries who have also declared their eternal allegiance to Jesus Christ? “For to me [Brother Mike] to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” For to me [place your name] to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Can we honestly claim to be Christians, to be Christ-like, if we are not able to state the fact that to live is Christ and to die is gain? For many of us, we have no problem acknowledging our eternal allegiance to live in Christ. The issue becomes more difficult when we consider acknowledging our eternal allegiance to Christ in death as our gain! But to die in Christ is the finalization of our living in and for Christ. They are eternally connected!

In Closing:
Have we prepared our own heart and mind for the coming of end time persecution? A simple yes or no is required! Have we decided to truly follow Jesus, which means we have decided to live godly lives in Christ Jesus while alive upon planet earth? If so, Jesus and Paul have warnings to heed in next week’s lesson.

But until then, let us pray about our personal allegiance to God our heavenly Father, Jesus our Lord, and the written and preserved Word of God, knowing that the flesh is weak, but God’s Holy Spirit within us is indeed willing to make us overcomers even in the midst of wide spread end time affliction, suffering, and persecution!

Let’s Pray:
Our Father in heaven, help us to be found looking unto Jesus, the living Word of God and author and finisher of our faith. Teach us concerning the biblical truth of being prepared for end time persecution. Strengthen us Father and fortify our desire to live godly lives in and through Jesus Christ. In Him Always, Amen!     

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