Published 6:28 pm Friday, July 29, 2011
We Christians are well aware that Satan started the lie that man could become a god, and that was the cornerstone of the seduction of the human race (Genesis 3:1-5).
In his war against those who have committed their lives to the true and loving God, Satan as God’s chief adversary, has majored in two areas, seduction and persecution.
The saying that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church” has been demonstrated over and over again many times over the years. Which in many ways has strengthened the church. But the same is not true for seduction.
One must look at the facts here in the United States. We have not experienced significant religious persecution, nothing like many other countries and those that are controlled by Islam. Historically, true Christians in the west as far as Europe have suffered violence from the Caesars of Rome, the Church of Rome and communism, among others, but a comparable level of persecution has yet to reach our country.
On the other hand, spiritual seduction has in many ways shipwrecked the faith of many within Christendom.
In St. Matthew 24:4, Jesus warns that the last days prior to his return will be a time of religious deception.
“Take heed that no man deceive you” and in (verse 24) that the deception will be so great that if it were possible the very elect could be deceived.
In St. Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus refers to the “Strait gate” and “Narrow way” that leads to life and said that a “few there be that find it.”
In St. Luke 18:8, he writes sobering words of the Lord concerning the time of his return, “Would he find faith upon the earth?”
We know the purpose of his second coming is the judgment and to save Israel from annihilation.
The Apostle Paul gives us insight by exploring how apostasy could manifest among them who call themselves Christians.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:3-4).
Sound doctrine will not be endured in the last days because many who began with the milk of the word of truth have already been weaned from it, “seduced” by their own love for the things of the world and by false teachers.
This has caused sound doctrine to become an issue that has fostered division among Christians.
Paul said to the Romans believers to identify those who teach such things, “That are contrary to the doctrine that they had learned to avoid them” (Romans 16:17). For them who wish to stand for the teaching of God’s word will be at odds with others that are not conformed to the Scriptures and its teaching.
We ask this question, could division over doctrine result in persecution?
Both history and the word of God indicate as much.
In the Book of Acts, we read, “There was a great persecution against the church, which was at Jerusalem.”
It all involved violent assaults, imprisonments, even death. The issues were doctrinal pitting those who defended the religious traditions of man against those who followed the teachings of Jesus the Messiah. Those persecutions continued as Christians who stood firm in the doctrine of Jesus Christ and refused to bow down to the Caesars or conform to the pagan rituals of Rome.
Today we see persecution continues against believers in Islamic countries and in those places in the West where Roman Catholicism still controls the society, such as cities, villages and even in some states in Mexico and South America.
We are seeing the anti- Christian movement here in our own country. The Ten Commandments being removed from our public buildings, the taking away of Jesus name and the word of God out of religious services in our military, religious symbols (crosses) in public view are being removed, persecution knocking on our door if we resist to abide to the law.
Sound doctrine, the teachings of the Bible, is what a true Christian is to abide by, as we are to live our life for Christ. Sound doctrine is the absolute Criterion that dictates what beliefs, practices and programs he can accept and what he must reject.
Standing for the truth and righteousness of the word of God while the opposition increases within and without the church can only result in some form of persecution. The Apostle Paul makes that quite clear.
“Yea and all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12).
Jesus who is the word made flesh, gave his disciples this word of encouragement regarding standing for his teachings, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven” (St. Luke 6:22-23).
May we remain steadfast in the faith as we look for his soon coming.