Pentecostals

 

 

2. I have noticed that many Pentecostals rarely – or rather hardly ever – speak about the tribulations and persecutions we as Christians are called to endure for the sake of the name of Jesus Christ: why?

 

 

Because in this nation many Christians don’t want to follow the steps of Jesus Christ, who was a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, despised and rejected by men (Isaiah 53:3).

These people have decided to please this crooked and sinful generation. How? By conforming themselves to the world, so the world accept them instead of rejecting them; the world loves them instead of hating them, they have become friends of the world, their words and deeds witness against them very clearly. They are dressed like the people of the world, they amuse themselves like the people of the world, they set their minds on earthly things just as the people of the world do, they mock at their neighbour just as the people of the world do, they use a coarse and vulgar language just as the people of the world do; how can we expect them to be persecuted and afflicted for Christ’s sake? How can we expect them to speak about what they are successfully avoiding? How can we hear them speaking of things which don’t concern them? Yes, they attend a place of worship called ‘Evangelical Church’, but once they are outside it, they conduct themselves just like the people of the world do, rather sometimes their conduct is worse than the conduct of the people of the world. Brutal, covetous persons, extortioners, haughty, slanderers, vainglorious persons, lovers of pleasure and luxury; that’s what these people, who bear the name ‘Christian’ unworthily, are.

Today, the Gospel that many want to profess is the Gospel that promises only peace and joy in abundance on earth; it is the Gospel which promises material and financial success; it is the Gospel which says that if you accept Jesus Christ you will have no more problems; it is the Gospel which says that in Christ you are free to do whatever you like, therefore a Christian woman can wear tight and provocative dresses, you can go to the beach in order to get sun-tanned or you can have the television set in your house and so on! In other words, it is the so called Gospel of prosperity, which unfortunately is preached by many here in Italy also.

Isn’t this message attractive, which promises only joy, peace, and much material prosperity and speaks of no sacrifices and of no persecutions? Of course, it is. This is why many have accepted it with open arms, because they have been blinded by its seeming beauty and correctness. Therefore, do not expect these rebels and enemies of the cross to speak about the tribulations and afflictions which we who are Christians are called to endure on earth; I repeat myself, do not expect this, you would delude yourself. Do not expect them to say that they are despised, insulted, mocked, forsaken by the people of this world.

As for me, I will not shun to tell you that if you want to follow Christ, many tribulations, many persecutions, many insults and many sacrifices await you. Jesus said that if they persecuted Him, they will also persecute us (John 15:20), because they don’t know the Father who sent Him into this world. Jesus stated that men will persecute us, they will hate us, they will put some of us to death, they will bring us before kings and rulers for His name’s sake, they will deliver us to prisons, and we will be betrayed even by parents and friends. Obviously, some of these promises concern only some of us, because not all of us are put to death for Jesus’ sake, not all of us are put into prison, not all of us are betrayed by parents. Nevertheless, surely one thing concerns all of us, that is, the persecution at the hands of the people of the world and their hatred toward us. No matter under which form their hatred may manifest itself, it surely manifests itself. I myself have been despised by the people of the world, and my friends have forsaken me for the sake of the Lord Jesus. But all these things are not strange things, but normal things which are experienced by all those who deny themselves and take up their cross, in order to follow Jesus. Rather, I will say to you something else: I have been despised and forsaken even by some believers, because I have decided to please the Lord rather than these believers who are men-pleasers. Know this, that among the people of God are many who will love you, smile at you, praise you and cheer you, as long as you don’t touch their idols, their amusements and their carnal pleasures. But when you touch those evil things which they don’t want to give up, immediately they will begin to turn their backs on you, to ridicule you, to despise you, and to label you ‘a fanatic’, ‘an exaggerator’, ‘a Pharisee’, etc. I have noticed that many of those who are called ‘dear brothers’ or ‘servants of God’ are nothing but stubborn rebels, they are like Diotrephes, Demas, Korah, Dathan and Abiram; they are whitewashed tombs who do all things in order to be seen by men, they have a heart trained in covetous practices, they despise the cross of Christ and trample it underfoot, they deceive the hearts of the simple by smooth words and flattering speech. They are servants of Mammon, they are ready to sell their soul to the devil for a piece of bread and a stew of lentils, they are willing to trample the Word of God underfoot for a few euro and they side with the majority, that is, with the rebels. These ‘dear brothers’ love and practice falsehood, yes they love and practice it continually: they are not in the habit of speaking the truth. ‘The Lord spoke to me,’ ‘God revealed to me that …,’ they often say. And what did the Lord speak and reveal to them? Some of them say that the Lord told them that divorced persons can remarry; some others say that the woman is allowed to teach, some say that today the woman can pray or prophesy with her head uncovered (that is, without a veil upon her head), that the woman can wear a miniskirt and jewelry because God looks at the heart, etc. Lies, just lies which are spoken by these rebels in the name of the Lord: for sure they will receive in themselves the penalty for their rebellion. Surely they will be punished for their lies, just as the false prophets who used their tongues and said, ‘The Lord says’ but God had not spoken to them nor sent them. What did those prophets do? They strengthened the hands of the evildoers and discouraged the righteous people. The threats were for the righteous rather than for the wicked. They said to the rebels: ‘The Lord has said, ‘You shall have peace’, and ‘No evil shall come upon you!’ (Jeremiah 23:17), while they said to Jeremiah that he did not seek the welfare of the people but their harm (Jeremiah 38:4 – yet the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the people from God, so his words were true and faithful). These rebels will never get away with it, they can deceive the simple but not God, who will return their craftiness on their own heads at His appointed time.

 

 

 

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