WALKING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES

 
 
TUESDAY TEACHINGS
 
 

 

TRANSFORMATION OF THE CHURCH

Changes God requires in His church today in order to produce the perfected 'bride of Christ'

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Setting out the principles on which God's kingdom is to operate.

 

 

 

BACKGROUND

CHURCH
CHURCH
CHURCH GOVERNMENT

 

The full background to this teaching is available online at this link
DEFINITIONS (For serious students only)

 

 

Online links to scriptures (New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise stated) are shown in blue

 

PERSECUTION STRENGTHENS BELIEF

 

Persecution is a weapon satan uses to attack believers, but, in the end, it backfires on him. For persecution forces each one of us to make a choice. We either decide that the walk with Jesus is too difficult and slip back into the ways of the world, or our faith is strengthened. With increased faith, our light, formerly 'hidden behind a bushel', shines out to those around us as we truly become a 'light to the world'.

Persecution comes from both outside and within the church.

The earliest recorded case outside the church was that of Stephen.

 

 

Acts 7:54-8:1

 

 

The remarkable thing here, repeated in numerous other cases throughout history, is that Stephen did not ask God to save him from death but rather, witnessed to his persecutors.

Persecution continues today on a national scale in countries such as North Korea. Brother Simon of Open Doors reports:

The remarkable thing here, repeated in numerous other cases throughout history, is that Stephen did not ask God to save him from death but rather, witnessed to his persecutors.

Persecution continues today on a national scale in countries such as North Korea. Brother Simon of Open Doors reports:

Brother Simon, who has contacts with tens of thousands of Christians in North Korea through several networks, is convinced that despite the apparent dangers, at least 200,000 North Koreans are Christians "although that number may be even as high as half a million." One in four Christians in North Korea are believed to be in camps "where people usually do not survive," he said.

“In North Korea it is strictly forbidden to be a Christian. Who has a Bible could be sentenced to a punishment camp along with his whole family." He added that refugees deported from China could face at least several years imprisonment. "However if authorities find out the refugee has contact with a Christian he or she may face torture and even execution," Brother Simon added.

 

 

 

Throughout history, God has also used the persecuted to revitalise the church. Sadly, the participants of each new move of God have, inevitably it seems, been persecuted by those within the church, those with the former anointing. The persecution of the Anabaptists is but one example.

In the early 16th century, groups of European Christians started splitting from the Roman Catholic Church in what is now known as the Protestant Reformation. But while Protestants and Catholics were at odds, they held one thing in common: Anabaptism had to be eliminated.

The Reformed Christians drowned Felix Manz, the first of thousands of Anabaptist martyrs over the next two centuries. The Catholics burned at the stake Michael Sattler, author of the first Anabaptist confession of faith. Even Martin Luther, who is credited with ushering in the Reformation, urged the execution of all Anabaptists as heretics.

Such persecution helped drive the early Anabaptists - the spiritual ancestors of today's Mennonites, Amish, and Hutterites - into isolation, suspicious of the rest of the world. But now nearly 500 years later, the Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed churches are seeking to make amends. (The Record, Bergen County, NJ, USA)

 

 

 

Persecution has been part of the experience of believers since earliest times. 

 

TODAY AND THE FUTURE

 

When it comes to 'the future' in any aspect of Christianity, there are generally as many opinions as there are believers! While I know this is an exaggeration, it makes the point that, in spite of all the prophecy the Bible contains, we really understand very little more than generalities about future events.

 

 

 

When it comes to persecution of the church, everyone would agree that it is going to increase but, in spite of various and varying, often strongly held, views, we don't know specifically what is going to happen.

 

 

 

Reality is, we understand Biblical prophecy far better after it has happened than before! Personally, I think God purposefully designed it that way, for our walk is to be built upon faith and trust in the Lord through all situations of life, both good and bad. If we knew everything we would become arrogant in the extreme!

God however, has made it clear that the further time moves on the greater the clash will be between believers and satan, as satan fights a rearguard action before the inevitable triumphant return of Jesus to rule and reign upon the earth.

 

 

 

Our human nature tends towards extremes when faced with such situations. Some are complete prophets of doom, while others grasp hold of any straw to be comforted that such a fate will not befall them. The doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture is a terrible example of this, for it falsely persuades people that there is no need to worry about living the holy and righteous lives of a disciple now, for we will supernaturally be zapped out of here as soon as the going gets tough! Easy Christianity in the extreme!

Other than having, at best, an very tenuous Biblical justification, being based upon an extreme interpretation of a couple of verses of Scripture, it simply isn't the way God has worked in His dealings with mankind throughout recorded history.

In God, every benefit has a cost. Yes, salvation is free, but in spite of what many preach and teach, living out salvation costs us our life. If we truly are converted, using our jargon, we have to give up our old life in order to live 100% for Him.

 

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

 

This is the secret to coping with the inevitable persecution promised in the Word. Not that we seek a form of 'magic escapism', but that we answer the call of Jesus to live lives sold out to Him. 

 

Matthew 5:43-48

 

 

Our life, not escapism, is the ultimate protection against inevitable persecution. Even when it costs us our life. Such is the way of God.

This has been testified to by martyrs throughout history who pray upon their deathbed, not for rescue, but for their persecutors.

May we never forget:

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10)

"Lord, may we be found worthy of you."

 

 

NEXT WEEK: TRANSFORMATION OF THE CHURCH: 3. FROM KINGS TO KINGDOM

 

Setting out the principles on which God's kingdom is meant to operate.

 

 

A NOTE FROM DAVID

 

Persecution is a promise in end times. We glibly talk about the impending return of Jesus but we ignore the implications of the events which must precede it, including the persecution of the church.

May we remain faithful to our Lord, as He did for us, when dying on the cross. Thank you Lord.

Question: "Did the high priest have a rope tied to him when he entered the Holy of Holies?"

Answer: There is a tradition that the high priest of Israel would enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle / Temple with a rope tied to his foot and/or with bells around his waist. Tradition says that when the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies at Yom Kippur during the last couple of centuries of the Temple, a scarlet rope was tied to his foot. A priest in the Holy Place tended the other end of this rope, which had a purpose. If the High Priest's sins were not atoned for properly, he would die in the presence of the shekinah—the glory of God—that filled the Holy of Holies. Since nobody else could enter that part of the Temple without also dying, the priests felt they needed a way to retrieve the body of the High Priest, if necessary. That was the purpose of the rope—to pull the body out. The bells jingling would be the sign that the priest had fallen to the ground dead.

If true, this would be a powerful reminder of God's holiness and how we should praise Jesus for the direct access to God's throne He provides! However, the Bible does not record such a practice. In fact, the Bible has specific instructions regarding what the high priest can and cannot wear (Exodus chapters 28-35). It seems highly unlikely that God would allow this practice.

 

 

So until next week.......
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD!

His servant and yours

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Previous parts of this Series (When applicable) are available to be read at:
www.wwj.org.nz/tuesday-teachings

 

 

 

A DAVID'S DOODLING

243. A believer loves the Lord, but the disciples love is unconditional.

David Tait         

 

 

 

Earlier Series of "Tuesday Teachings" can be read at:
www.wwj.org.nz/tuesday-teachings

 

 

Check out the WWJ website for….

More David's Doodlings: www.wwj.org.nz/dd.php
If Only I'd Thought of it: http://www.wwj.org.nz/thought.php
Laughing at Ourselves: http://www.wwj.org.nz/laugh.php
A look at some of lifes curious questions: http://www.wwj.org.nz/why.php
Everything you ever wanted to know about....: http://www.wwj.org.nz/exex.php

 

 

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