On Sept. 11th, the Parliament of Iran approved the use of the death penalty for those determined to be apostate. Anyone turning from Islam and its teachings would lead to execution. This even includes blogs that it is determined promoted apostasy. Apostasy by definition is the abandoning of ones religious beliefs, political party, or cause. There are people in jail in Iran for converting to Christianity, who now could face the death penalty. In Matthew 24:9 Jesus in talking about signs of the end times says ” Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name.”. As we look at the world today, we can see that more and more nations are turning against Christ.
Where does the United States stand as a nation? While we are not to the point of persecution, we are slowly sliding in that direction. The day will come when Christian persecution comes to our country. The above verse says Christians will be hated by all nations, not just some.
Another sign of the coming of Christ is the apostasy of the Christian church. How many people would be left in our country if we adopted the death penalty for Christian apostasy? In the two verses following Matthew 24:9, Jesus describes the apostasy that will take place. Because of the persecution some will turn against one another. And the love of many will grow cold because of lawlessness. It is easy to say you are a Christian when there are no consequences for belief. But when persecution sets in, we can truly see who is Christian and who is not. Those who have not truly committed to Christ will fall away when things get hard. A person only needs to look at the number of liberal churches in our country to realize that apostasy already abounds in our country. They change their doctrine with every new wind of cultural change. Instead of trying to change the culture to fit the bible, they change their interpretation of the bible to suit the culture around them. Many want to enter heaven by following the broad and easy path. Few want to follow the difficult path that leads to the narrow gate. The broad gate leads to destruction, and many liberal churches are leading people to destruction.
What will Jesus find when He comes back? Read the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. Jesus talks about praying always and not being discouraged. But He ends it with this question, “when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?”. If Christ came back today, would He find that kind of faith in you? What kind of faith would He find in your church? Would He see that you have pressed through during tough times? Or would He see that you gave up and took the easy path?