Overcoming The Coming Persecution
Matthew 24:9-14 NKJV: Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Here, the Lord Jesus informs us of a great universal persecution that will come against the Church in the end-time: now the Church has always experienced persecution but in this end-time the persecution will be universal and more severe than what has been experienced in the past.
The time of its fulfillment is upon us now: for it is the manifestation of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4. 12-15) as it was in the life and ministry of Christ (Jn. 14.12) that will spark of this persecution and this manifestation of the fullness of Christ is imminent, prophesied to take place from towards the end of 2004 and onwards.
This is because the manifestation of the fullness of Christ in the Church will bring with it a release of the preaching and teaching of the Word of God in fullness of revelation and wisdom and persecution will arise for the Word’s sake (Mk. 4. 17) as it was in the early Church (Ac. 4.1-23, 5. 17-42, 12.1‚ 19).
However, the good news is that the Church can and will overcome this great persecution and this overcoming will cause us to preach and demonstrate the fullness of the gospel of the Kingdom to all nations: every tribe, tongue and kindred on the face of the earth, before the end (the rapture) and the great tribulation of the world begins as shown in Mt. 24. 15-31.
How then do we overcome this coming persecution?
By perfecting or developing the love of God in us so it will cast fear so that we will not be offended and neither will our love wax cold (Mt. 24. 10-12) during the persecution.
Walking in the agape or divine love of God causes the love of God in us to be perfected or developed, which flushes out from our minds, wills and emotions the force of fear.
1 John 4:17-19 NAS: By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
Many Christians do not have agape love developed in them: what they are operating is fileo love or human affection, which will crumble under the pressure of persecution.
This was what happened to Peter when he denied Christ: he was operating in human love not divine love.
This was why after the resurrection the Lord Jesus was telling Peter to agape him but Peter was saying I fileo you in Jn. 21. 15-16: John 21:15-16
15 So, when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee, He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
However, after the day of Pentecost when Peter had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit he started operating more in agape love and then could overcome the persecution that came against him (Act. 5 8-31).
So for us to develop agape or divine love we need to daily as a habit:
1. Walk in the fear of God.
2. Walk in the life of God: using the name of Jesus to receive life (1 Jn. 3.22, Jn. 20.31).
3. Read the Word daily as habit: the Word of God contains the wisdom of God of how to do good in all situations (Prov. 2.6).
4. Pray in the spirit: pray in tongues (1 Cor. 14.2) to release the mercy and grace of God (Heb. 4.14-16, 7.25, Rom. 8. 26,27) that will give you the patience and power of God to walk in love