When professing Christians persecute: Counterfeit Christians and the ‘Parable of the Wheat and the Tares’
Originally published on August 9, 2010
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” 2 Timothy 3:12.
The People’s New Testament Commentary says, “…and all indeed that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. In that age persecution was inseparable from a devoted Christian life. The same has been true, to a certain extent, in all ages. If the church was less worldly it would be more persecuted”.
Are you being persecuted as a Christian?
Don’t lose heart! Jesus was also persecuted. We should not be surprised at this. The Bible speaks about persecution. If you are devoted to Christ, suffering will come. However, there is great heavenly reward! Also, you can have joy in the midst of suffering, like the Apostle Paul. Rejoice always, pray and give thanks to God in all circumstances. It will keep your heart focused on Him and His goodness and Truth. We all know persecution happens, but what happens when the persecutions come from believers?
“God’s will is that we suffer as Jesus suffered that we might be increasingly conformed into the image of Christ. If we never go through trials and tribulation, then we’ll never grow. A faith must be tested. The Apostle Paul was broke financially. Paul wasn’t lazy. Paul wasn’t uneducated. Paul followed Christ too closely and was persecuted for it. If you want to follow Jesus Christ, I mean really follow Him, then you will have no choice but to pick up a cross and be crucified with Him. The Bible warns us in 2nd Timothy 3:12 that those who live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL SUFFER. There is no way around it. If you claim to follow Jesus Christ, and are not suffering, then you are not living godly. Godly living in Christ Jesus means preaching the Gospel to lost sinners, departing from sin and making a difference for Christ in this world. The unsaved world hates Jesus, hates the Bible, and hates those believers who exemplify the Lord in their life.” – David J. Stewart
“And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” — Matthew 10:38-39
Persecution from Christians
“Sometimes, more often than not, persecution comes from other people who say they are Christians. They may say they are Christians, but if they were Christians, why would they be persecuting other Christians for preaching the Gospel or living for Christ or obeying His Word? This is sad, and the perhaps most heart-breaking. Remember to love and pray for these people, for God has a great plan for people and we should pray, not hate.
So persecution comes from a certain class called by Jesus the world. But the class that Jesus called the world are those who had a form of godliness, but did not have the power thereof. Christianity has its counterfeits, as has money. So the Apostle speaks of a class who would take the name of the Lord upon them and misuse that name. And there are people in the world today who do not know the difference between the genuine and the counterfeit–between Truth and error–and who do not want to know, and who keep out of the way of being told. They somehow know that there would come a certain measure of condemnation to themselves if they recognized the real facts and did not act in accordance with them.
They are not all bad people by any means. There are very many good people among the tares; but there is no real wheat among the tares–no real nutriment. But these tares pose as the Church of Christ; the tare systems pose as Christianity. And from this class usually come the persecutions. They try to crowd out the wheat, or to choke it and make it unfruitful. It was so in our Lord’s day. Those to whom the Lord referred as persecutors were not the Gentile world of His day, but the worldly ones of the Jews–those who were not fully consecrated to the Lord, but who thought they were.
And so those who live godly in Christ Jesus have their persecutions, not so much from the worldly class as from professing Christians. There is a class in Churchianity today that has a great deal of pride and self-satisfaction. They are upholding a large institution. If anything seems to be inimical to that institution, they are wrathful and wish to persecute. Some say respecting those who proclaim Present Truth and who live saintly lives as followers of Jesus Christ: If we let these people alone and let them teach these things, all that we have been upholding for centuries will crumble…
But we see that these people are persecuting the Truth and its representatives because of misunderstanding. We should have a great deal of sympathy and not feel specially angry with them. This does not mean that we should be glad of persecution–no persecution “for the present seemeth joyous, but grievous” (Heb. 12:11). But if we know that we are suffering for righteousness’ sake, then we know the Spirit of God rests upon us. It is those who know that they suffer for Christ’s sake, and who take it gladly because it is the will of God, that may rejoice, because the persecution is working out in them blessed effects. Let us then…
‘Be still beneath His tender care,
For He will make the tempest cease;
And bring from out the anguish here,
The afterward of peace.'”
(The above was retrieved from http://www.agsconsulting.com/htdbv5/r5394.htm on August 9, 2010; Author unknown; Emphasis mine)
THE SOLITARY WAY
Alas! How few may know the grace it takes
To tread the solitary way. Alone!
Ah, yes, alone! No other human heart
Can understand the nameless sorrows there–
The nights in weeping spent, and yet, when dawns
The day, to greet the world with radiant smile,
And scatter sunshine while you whisper low
To your poor heart, “Canst bear a little more?”
Alone! Poor heart, and dost thou question, Why?
Dost think it strange that thou must walk this way?
Ah, no! Thou dost but follow in His steps
Who went before, and of the people there
Was none with Him! Alone? Yet not alone–
Hath not thy blessed Lord and Master said,
“My presence shall go with thee”? Ah, my soul,
No longer, then a solitary way!
December 24, 1913 G. W. SEIBERT.