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Listening To Jesus Stop Us Going Astray

John 16:1-4
"All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you. (NIV)

We are all prone to go astray. That is why we need Jesus to bring us back to where we belong. Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus was preparing His trainee apostles to be able to stay on track with Him so that they could lead the church. It would not be an easy task; persecution would soon become a normal part of the church’s life.

Pentecost and the days afterwards were a wonderful ‘honeymoon’ in which the apostles were, “praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people.” (Acts 2:47) But shortly afterwards, Peter and John were put in jail because they were preaching about Jesus (Acts 4:2-3). The persecution continued, as Jesus had prophesied, because the religious leaders wrongly believed that they were serving God. The reason they made such a big mistake was that they did not know the Father or the Son and had not received the Spirit – because they refused to worship Jesus as God, or submit to Him.

There is more persecution in the church today than at any other time in history. Partly, that is because there are many more believers and churches, but also because the preaching and worship of the Lord Jesus Christ is offensive to those who do not know Him. Such hostility can be found as easily in an office block or university in a so-called Christian country as in places where other faiths dominate. It is a heart issue. Wherever people love the Lord, they will be persecuted by those who do not know Him. 2 Timothy 3:12-13 says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” So, if they do not like you because you love Jesus, be encouraged! Jesus said, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”(Matthew 5:12)

Dear Lord. Thank You that Jesus fully understands suffering and the hatred of people who will not submit to You. Forgive me when I have stopped witnessing about Jesus or even pretended that I do not know Him. Please help me to stay close to Jesus and not to stray away from the path of truth. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams