Thursday, June 09, 2011

Time of Distress (17) - Suffering

During the Time of Distress, the church will suffer for Jesus. The letter to the Hebrews describes what it will be like.

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions (Heb 10:32-34).
This season will really tough for Christians, so they should be prepared to suffer. Those who follow Jesus will have to turn the other cheek again and again.
  • Many will be ripped off by violent and ruthless men.

  • Some who have prepared will have all their resources stolen.

  • Many will starve because they have been robbed.

  • Justice will be rare.

  • People will be killed, because they have food, and someone stronger wants it.

  • Human life will be cheap and the protection of the state will disappear.

  • Suffering will lead to victory.

Looking for the Second Coming or rapture during the Time of Distress will lead to disappointment. Instead of seeking to escape, Christians should:
  • prepare for a tough time, as Satan will not give up without a fight;

  • prepare for persecution;

  • build strong communities where Christians will be safe;

  • raise up a prophetic voice that understands the times;

  • speak prophetically to the nations;

  • pray for the real salvation of Israel;

  • speak prophetically to the people of Israel to prepare them for faith in Jesus.

During a time of trouble, the safest place is a strong Christian community. Paul insists that we should counter evil by doing good.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21).
In the same letter, he gives instructions about building strong relationships with other Christians.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves.
Share with God's people who are in need.
Practice hospitality.
Live in harmony with one another (Rom 12:10,13,16).
The best antidote to evil is strong communities where Christians can stand together to protect those coming under attack. Those standing alone will be vulnerable.
Faithful prayer during affliction produces joyful hope.
Be joyful in hope,
patient in affliction,
faithful in prayer (Rom 12:12).

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