Every day since Jesus rose into the heavens we have come one day closer to his return. This is an obvious statement I know, but I believe sometimes Christians seem to forget that. While we busy ourselves with work and church and service and children and all the worries of life, we forget that the Lord’s plan for this earth still carries on.
I have done a lot of reading lately about the prophecies of the end time. It has become quite obvious to me that up until the day Christ returns our life on earth as a Christian will become increasingly more challenging. When I say challenging I mean that many non-Christians will literally hate us.
This should not be a surprise to anyone who takes time to read the Bible and study the word. I am going to include a few verses in this post to highlight this, but I want you to study the subject on your own. Read through the books of the New Testament in the next two months. If it has been a while since you have read through these, I guarantee you will find this beneficial. Each time I read through these I get something new from it. One reason is your perspective changes as you grow older and see the world change.
1 Peter 4:12-19 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.
Why should we keep doing good for a world that hates us?
1 Peter 2:15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.
Why do the unbelievers hate us?
1 John 3:12-13 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
Jesus told the Disciples directly that the world would hate them because of His name.
John 15:18-23 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.
When Jesus was talking to the disciples about the end times, he told them not only about the trials that they would face but also the trials of His followers in the last days.
Luke 21:10-20 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life. “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.
See also Matthew 24 and Mark 13
Are we ready for this crush? Are we ready to return love for hatred? As the pressure of the world’s push to force everyone to believe in the same thing increases, so will hatred of anyone who disagrees with those beliefs. If you don’t believe this, pull your head out of the sand, and scroll through the comments on news stories related to any contentious issue where religion might be involved. That will wake you up real quick.
Yet through all of this, the greatest of our responsibilities is to love. The love of Christ is the first thing that anyone should see from us, not condemnation, not accusation, but love.