Stop Persecuting The Church Victor Nyakey, Durban South Africa
There is no denying the fact that genuine Christians or servants of God face various forms of harassment worldwide. It is also not novel to our generation because whatever situation people of God find themselves in today is a manifestation and fulfillment of bible prophecies.
Jesus Christ himself, during his earthly ministry, made it clear to his apostles in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
We read about John the Baptist or Baptizer in the bible, a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early first century who baptized Jesus.
John is revered as a major religious figure in Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, and Mandaeism. He is called a prophet by all of these traditions, and is honoured as a saint in many Christian traditions.
There is enough evidence backed by biblical scriptures which point to the fact, that John the Baptist was decapitated for standing against ungodly practices.
The book of Matthew 14:1-12 accounts; When Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, heard about Jesus, he said to his advisers, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead! That is why he can do such miracles.” For Herod had arrested and imprisoned John as a favor to his wife Herodias (the former wife of Herod’s brother Philip). John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry her.”
Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of a riot, because all the people believed John was a prophet. But at a birthday party for Herod, Herodias’s daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him, so he promised with a vow to give her anything she wanted.
At her mother’s urging, the girl said, “I want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!” Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders.
So John was beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. Later, John’s disciples came for his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus what had happened……….
The scriptures quoted above dispel the misconception that ‘ONCE YOU ARE BORN AGAIN YOU SHALL FACE NO CHALLENGES.’ In fact, all the apostles called into ministry by Jesus Christ himself faced various degrees of persecution; some were beheaded, nailed on the cross, beaten to death etc.
According to the canonical gospels, Jesus, the Christ, himself was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally crucified by the Romans. Jesus was stripped of his clothing and offered wine mixed with gall to drink, before being crucified. 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
It is therefore clear that NO ardent follower of Jesus Christ will be spared of torture and humiliation in this world.
But should Christians give up their godliness or salvation for the sake of persecution? No!
Matthew 10:28 says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Christians must rise to the occasion and preach the gospel, win souls for God in the name of Jesus without fear or favour. For, in doing so, we have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
BUT CAN ANY WELL MEANING PERSONS PERSECUTE THE CHURCH? No, unless the tormentor is under some demonic influences because such barbaric attacks on God’s people originate from the pit of hell where Satan rules. The bible teaches us that God is love and as such; we must love our neighbours as Christ loves the church. This goes without saying, “Anything close to God receives attack.” That is why we hear of news in recent times about various Holy Spirit filled churches and their leaders being hounded across the globe.
This canker has even crept into weaker churches whose members and leaders become the mouthpiece of Satan castigating the fivefold ministry namely apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors (or "shepherds") and teachers.
Jesus and his apostles, during their earthly ministry, demonstrated power; the sick were healed, blind received their sight, dead people were resurrected, the lame walked, demon possessed delivered, and sinners received salvation by the word of prophecy etc.
Hebrews 2:3-4 points out: “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? This salvation was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, and was affirmed by God through signs, wonders, various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.”
But many unbelievers and blind churches do not believe in miracles, signs and wonders. Hence, they humiliate servants of God who minister healing, deliverance, prophecy and baptism in the Holy Spirit.
BUT DO FALSE PROPHETS EXIST? Yes! The gospel according to 1 Timothy 4:1-7 admonishes: “God’s Spirit specifically tells us that in later days there will be men who abandon the true faith and allow themselves to be spiritually seduced by teachings of the devil, teachings given by men who are lying hypocrites, whose consciences are as dead as seared flesh.
These men forbid marriage, command abstinence from food—good things which, in fact, God intends to be thankfully enjoyed by those who believe in him and know the truth.
Everything God made is good, and is meant to be gratefully used, not despised. The holiness or otherwise of a certain food, for instance, depends not on its nature but on whether it is eaten thankfully or not, It is consecrated by the man who has accepted the message, and thanks God for food.
You will be doing your duty as Christ’s minister if you remind your church members of these things (false teaching), and you will show yourself as one who owes his strength to the truth of the faith he has absorbed and the sound teaching he has followed. But steer clear of all these stupid Godless fictions. Take time and trouble to keep yourself spiritually fit.”
The best way to differentiate between a true and false prophet is by heavily relying on the Holy Spirit for revelation because we are encouraged to walk by FAITH and not by SIGHT; the way and manner we see things with our naked eyes is different from God’s way of judging things. Only HE can disclose the truth. We are bound to fail or sin if we depend on our own strength to judge or test all spirits.
We are also presaged to know true or false teachers by their fruits. Galatians 5:22-23 categorizes such fruits as the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
These are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, anyone who does not bear such fruits is not a true follower of Christ.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO PERSECUTE CHRIST AND HIS FOLLOWERS? The gospel of Mark 3:27-29 answers: “Indeed, no one can enter a strong man’s house to steal his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. Truly I tell you, the sons of men will be forgiven all sins and blasphemies, as many as they utter. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of eternal sin.”
The main problem of many Christians today is tongue problem; they are quick to condemn other people based on media reports, gossips or personal vendetta. It is for this reason Jesus said, “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is holy; do not throw your pearls before swine. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”…Matthew 7:4-6
My advice to all Christians is to channel their resources into the spreading of the gospel of Christ Jesus rather than expend towards the annihilation and persecution of the church. In James 1:26-27 the bible says: “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not restraint his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
In conclusion, I must stress that; the language our LORD JESUS CHRIST understands is LOVE. To be a true child of God we must love our neighbours as we love ourselves.
To God be all the glory!!!