Thursday, October 5, 2023

Signs of Christ’s Return

“And everyone will hate you because you are my followers.” (Luke 21:17 NLT)

We know from church history that the church has undergone relentless persecution.

All the apostles, except for one, died the death of a martyr. John was banished to the island of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Church tradition suggests that John’s persecutors tried to boil him in oil, but they didn’t succeed. So they banished him instead.

The church went through horrible times of persecution. From the first century to 314, the martyr period of church history, thousands of courageous Christians laid down their lives for the sake of the gospel.

Ten great waves of persecution took place under the various Caesars, who sought to eradicate the Christian faith from the earth. But instead of destroying Christianity, they only strengthened it in many ways. The gospel is alive and well, and Jesus Christ is still working powerfully.

God allowed this persecution, and He will allow persecution. In fact, one of the signs of the last days will be increased persecution. And it will intensify during the tribulation period.

Today there are courageous people around the world standing up for their faith. Yet in the United States, we will complain if someone makes fun of us for reading the Bible. Let’s thank God for the freedom that we have to do this. And let’s thank Him for the freedom that we have to preach the gospel.

As Christians, we will face persecution. If you are a godly person, then you will be persecuted. The Bible says, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 NLT).

Maybe God has allowed persecution in your life. It might be someone at work who always has hard questions for you or a neighbor who gives you a hard time for your faith in Jesus. Or maybe it’s a family member who doesn’t believe. It could be that you are doing something right.

God will allow persecution in the life of the believer. Not only is persecution confirmation that we are children of God, but it also causes us to cling tighter to Jesus and remember this world is not our home.

Jesus told His disciples, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you” (John 15:18-19 NLT).

As signs of the imminent return of Jesus continue to unfold, it should keep us on our toes spiritually. Jesus said, “So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28 NLT).

We are stewards over our lives, our time, and our resources. And one day we will be held accountable for it. Let’s not waste our time. Let’s not go on with business as usual. Instead, let’s allow this teaching of the Lord’s return to motivate us to live godly lives.

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