1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
These next few verses speak of persecution against the church. The Greek word used for church is ekklesia. This word was different from other words to describe religious things. There is a quote from a Morris from The Blue Letter Bible all: “The force of this is that Christianity is not just another religion. It is not to be named with any of the words proper to religions in general [of that day].” It has long been said that Christianity isn’t a religion it is a relationship. It is a relationship with the One in whom there is salvation in no one else, none other than Jesus Christ (see Acts 4:12).
There is no doubt that greater persecution is coming. Jesus specifically stated we would be persecuted, and this persecution will increase in the latter days. We can see persecution increasing throughout the world and specifically here in the US. Some states have especially used COVID to allow casinos to be open but restricted Believers from gathering. It is becoming hate speech to speak against such things as homosexuality, transgender and abortion. I do believe Christians need to keep specific eye on such things. Sometimes Christians do take things too far and isolate those who are suffering from sin and single out these sins as greater than others. We are all sinners and in need of God’s grace. Is homosexuality a sin? Yes, but all sexual immorality is deplorable before God which is easily defined as any thought or action outside of the marital union between a man and a woman. Defining man and woman takes us to transgender. God designed us as male and female. Science backs this up by XX and XY chromosomes. Therefore, gender isn’t a feeling. It is in our design. There are arguments out there to make it a crime to speak against transgender or help someone through their burden of feeling they want to change genders. Speak against abortion and see what happens. Abortion at its basis is simply defined as the Satanic ritual of child sacrifice, regardless of the reason. The Old Testament clearly defines this, even with supporting evidence in the new. Why do I bring this up? They are “social” issues that are attacking and dividing the church in today’s age as well as leading people down a path of apostasy. They are also issues that some churches get very wrong in how they treat people in the above-mentioned situations.
Persecution is coming. BUT, these sins are sins and are so easily forgiven by our Creator. In fact, He is yearning for everyone to confess their sins. There are not sins greater than others. There are simply sins. He also defeats the lie of shame that can so easily grip us. Jesus bore all that on the cross. We also cannot back down to speak truth. BUT, we must speak truth in what? LOVE! This is what is generally missing in today’s society. In today’s society, we are being conditioned to believe Love is Love. Heresy! It must be Love in Truth. Keep in mind, love is first then truth.
We, as a church body, are soon going to experience persecution greater than we could probably realize. Wiersbe says this:
Here is one of the great values of the local church: we stand together in times of difficulty and encourage one another. It was when Elijah isolated himself from the other faithful Israelites that he became discouraged and wanted to quit. One reason Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica was to encourage the believers. A lonely saint is very vulnerable to the attacks of Satan. We need each other in the battles of life.
It is imperative that we stick together, fellowship together, encourage each and speak truth in love.