Disciples & Tribulation

The New Testament exhorts followers of Jesus to expect tribulation because of their faith. While it may not be an everyday experience in the life of the church, neither is tribulation for the kingdom unexpected. And the chief cause of tribulation and persecution in the life of the disciple is his or her faithful witness of the life and teachings of Christ.

And this understanding is especially prominent in the Book of Revelation. In Chapter 7, for example, John saw countless followers of the “Lamb” exiting the “great tribulation” after persevering through it.

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Discipleship & Suffering

For disciples, retaliation and violence are NOT appropriate reactions when persecution does occur. Rather than respond in kind, they must meet threats with humility, mercy, and love. This is what it means to “deny yourself” and “take up his cross.” And while praying for one’s “enemies” is contrary to the “wisdom of this age,” it epitomizes the paradigm of Christ crucified.

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When disciples are persecuted for their faith, they are to rejoice for being accounted “worthy” to suffer for Jesus

In the experience of the church, the outbreak of persecution is always a possibility, and believers often face hostility from employers, neighbors, and even family members. So, how should they react when the possibility becomes a sudden reality? Fortunately, both Jesus and his apostles left us with clear instructions and examples.

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Disciples of Jesus will escape God’s “wrath” but are appointed for “tribulation” in this life for the gospel‘s sake.

The terms “tribulation” and “wrath” are NOT synonymous in the New Testament. The former is what disciples endure for the gospel, but the latter is the horrific fate that awaits those men and women who reject the good news of the kingdom. Rather than life, they along with apostates will undergo the “second death.”

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His disciples escape God’s “wrath” but endure “tribulation” to which they have been “appointed”1 Thessalonians 3:1-4.

In the New Testament, the terms “tribulation” and “wrath” are NOT synonymous. “Tribulation” is what disciples endure for the sake of Jesus, but “wrath” is the horrific fate awaiting the wicked at the “end of the age,” the “second death,” which unrepentant sinners and apostates endure on account of their iniquities and betrayals.

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