There are times when I can empathize with those Christians who have gone before us and who were mocked and persecuted for their faith. My empathy can’t extend to the imprisonment or brutality they suffered; at this stage, it only covers the loneliness, name-calling, and mocking they have had to endure.
The world has always treated those in Christ that way (Matthew 10:22); for that reason, we should view the harsh treatment as an honor, knowing we have been set apart (1 Peter 2:9). To be hated for Christ’s sake is a comfort of sorts. It should be.
But what about the blows that come from within the church? It is heart-wrenching when a diatribe is unleashed upon those who expose errant doctrine.
The world calls us intolerable, closed-minded, and judgmental, while the undiscerning people inside the church call us haters, unloving, and divisive.
By now you must be thinking, “Ohh, what a depressing thing to read on a Monday”, but stay with me, as there’s hope and encouragement.
We tend to think of the mission field as being outside the church; however, many inside the church are perishing because they are under the teachings of counterfeit Christs and counterfeit Gospels. Hosea 4:6 comes to mind: my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
As I explain to my sisters how teachers such as Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, etc., are promoting false gospels, and how the Jesus of Jesus Calling is a false Christ, my mind often takes a moment to reflect on what Jeremiah–the “weeping prophet”–went through. He warned his own people about false prophets and the coming judgement, while encouraging them to repent.
The false prophets of Jeremiah’s day had prophesied that the people of Judah would not see famine or sword (Jeremiah 14:13); however, God said He did not send those prophets. In fact, God said that these false prophecies were delusions and deceptions from the prophets’ own minds (14:14). Jeremiah tried to defend his people by saying they couldn’t help but follow the prophets because they were being deceived. God responded by saying not only would the false prophets meet their end (14:15), but the people who were listening to them would suffer as well (14:16).
Those false prophets prophesied a false peace; modern-day false teachers are doing the same. Joel Osteen says you can prosper and have your “best life now”, Joyce Meyer says you can change your life by changing your words. These are false promises of peace and in direct opposition to 2 Timothy 3:12, which says all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Look what the Bible says about people, apostates, who “pervert the grace of God into sensuality”:
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4).”
This is why the Great Commission – which includes teaching everything that Jesus commanded and taught – should not only take place outside church doors. Those within church walls also need the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) as opposed to the cherry-picked verses they are being fed, and which are twisted to support false gospels.
I hope that you have been encouraged to fight for truth no matter who the hearer (or speaker) is. I encourage you to think about Jeremiah and to be comforted in the knowledge that you’re not the only one who has ever wept for God’s people.
Soli Deo Gloria,