Matthew 24:10 (KJV) “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.”
Persecution results in, “many being offended.” It purges out the dross. Persecution of Christians is intensifying. For the first time in two-thousand years, governments worldwide have forbidden church attendance. Using the COVID-19 epidemic as the rationale for their orders, authorities have enforced lockdowns on religious gatherings. Worldwide, pastors have been arrested, some imprisoned. Many churches that have disobeyed the “lockdown” orders have been heavily fined. The governor of the state of California has even gone so far as to forbid small group home Bible studies.
An interesting result of the lockdown is that it has freed “cultural Christians” from having to attend church. With this newfound freedom, many will never return. The “Great falling away” is in full swing!
Evidenced all around us, as Christianity wanes men’s hearts grow cold – disrespect, anger, meanness, selfishness, overt indifference for fellow human beings, even disregard for law and order by those who are charged with our governance. An article published in 2018 noted: only 10% of Europeans attend church and the majority of those are Moslems. In the United States, even before the COVID-19 shutdown, as many as 500 churches were closing their doors every month. Church Leadership.org provides some startling statistics. They estimated a net loss of approximately 3,500 churches annually and that every year 2.7 million church members depart. After COVID, many more churches will never again open their doors.
John says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” 1John 2:19 (KJV).
Paul said to Timothy, “Now the Spirit Spaeth expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” 1Timothy 4:1 (KJV).
Instead of embracing God’s “Truth” (John 17:17), the world is offended by it. These are they who God has given over to their lustful appetites. These are they who reject God and His ways.
“Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Romans 1:32 (KJV).
They KNOW because God has shown them:
“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them” Romans 1:19 (KJV).
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheet his handywork. Day unto day uttered speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. [There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard” Ps 19:1-3 (KJV).
Without the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit, without Christ at the center of our lives, the heart fills with envy and lust and greed and hate and anger and perversity and evils of every kind. Man’s heart without God becomes the antithesis of the Golden Rule, “without natural affection” (2 Timothy 3:3), opening the door to the presence of godless evil and demonic influence.
Paul says of them that they are filled, “…with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” 2Th 2:10-12 (KJV).
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him (Rapture), That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first…” 2Th 2:1-3 (KJV).
Exploring Scripture~because it matters-it really does!