I've often wondered, how the generation that saw Jesus perform his ministry, persecute him? But the answer is clear, Jesus was preaching a message that was offensive to their lifestyles. The same is true in this generation, because today's society is worse than it has ever been in history. Jesus warned us that if we preached in his name then we would have to take up our cross and face similar persecution. "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (24) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:23,24: ). The message from Jesus to Luke is a message to all whom walk in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus is telling us to throw down our pride (reputation) and let the everyone know that we are not here in our own name, but we are here in the name of Jesus Christ.
Losing your life for Jesus' name sake is the toughest thing a Christian will ever endure. You will either lose your life physically (being killed for your belief in Jesus) or you will lose your life by be hated for your belief in Christ. " He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (38) And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10:37,38: ). The love you should have for Jesus should be equal to or greater than the love that you have for your family. In other words, Jesus is asking for a personal relationship with you. " And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. (60) Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:59-60:) The man's dad was dead physically/spiritually and also, the rest of his family. Jesus made it clear that if you don't believe on Him, then you are already dead.
"Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. (20) And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee. (21) And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it. My brethren are these which hear the word of God and DO IT." (Luke 8:19-25:). This is important to understand because Jesus is implying that we have to put ourselves in the right company to excel in His Word. But what is the right company? The right company are those who are born again in the name of Jesus and not just hear the word but also do it. How can one tell if someone is truly saved? Have you ever question whether or not you are truly saved?
There are two parts to being saved, one is asking and one is believing. We can't profess to be born again Christians for insurance purposes only. Sure, you have to ask the Lord to be saved, but it is not enough to just ask, we MUST BELIEVE also. A saved Christian tries to stay away from sin, repents and follows Jesus. I don't believe that a born again Christian denounces Jesus and persecutes others for their belief in Him. People often use the term "backslide" in reference to a Christian who has started living for the world again. This is correct; however, these Christians are trying to adhere to a Christian lifestyle but are falling short. The "backslide" I see most is when a person says that they love Jesus but never show it in action or repent of their sin. Born again Christians backslide all of the time but, when they backslide, they don't rebuke Jesus. Until these people find Jesus and understand what being "Born Again" really means, they will continue down the path to destruction.
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."(Matthew 7:22-23:) Matthew is warning, that not all who claim to be "Christian" ( Born Again) are actually saved. These are "Christians" who believed that they were saved at some point in their lives but never came to the understanding of the Truth. Other religions pray to angels, saints, and dead relatives other than directly praying to Jesus. There are many instances in the bible where people fall at the angels feet (Worshiping or praying) and are scolded for doing so:
"And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. (9) Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God." (Revelation 22:8-9).
"And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19:10).
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. (5) Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;." (Exodus 20:4-5).
"Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,." (Colossians 2:18).
I have been asked that if a Born again Christian kills someone, will they still go to heaven? I say to you this: Surely if one had been born again, he would not have killed; however, if one does kill and then he truly accepts Jesus and repents, then he is saved. Also, you have those who say I have not killed anyone so I'm okay. Wrong! Being without Jesus is death in itself, and no matter how good or bad one is, he cannot be saved without Jesus. I pray that all who read this will find Jesus and take up their cross even if it means being persecuted in his name. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (12) Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Matthew 5:10-12: ).
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20).