Submission and Obedience


Persecution hounded believers in Jesus within the Early Church. History records that Rome's emperors initiated 12 waves of persecution that murdered thousands of Christians who refused to worship the emperors as god. Pagan Rome would not countenance the believers' steadfast faith in the Jesus Rome had crucified...the Man who rose from the dead and ascended to heaven to reign with His Father.

Though many believers dared to die for their faith in Jesus, many others weakened with the threat of death if they did not embrace the emperor as their god and burn incense to him. Those defectors turned their backs on Jesus and fellow believers to follow pagan god worship. They made the required sacrifice to Caesar that proved their allegiance to him as a deity.


As stated, persecution of Christians came in waves. During the height of the pressure to cower and bow down in pagan worship, some believers chose to leave their new faith. When persecution ebbed and peace returned to the land, some defectors wanted to return to the fellowship of the body of believers. Those who had turned tail asked to be readmitted in good standing to the assembly of believers.

The Church had a decision to make. Would they forgive and embrace those who became traitors to God and ran? Or, would she not reinstate those they called lapsi, the ones who were apostate and renounced their faith during hard times---whose faith had lapsed?

Some believers asserted that Peter declared he would die for Jesus (Mark 14:29, 31), yet on the night of Jesus' trial, Peter denied he knew Jesus three times! Following His resurrection from death, Jesus pointedly questioned Peter around a fire on the beach. He forgave and reinstated Peter, who became the preacher on Pentecost's streets. On that basis, believers said lapsi ought to be brought back into their fellowship.

Others claimed that if lapsi were not strong enough to stay true to Jesus no matter what threats were made against them, they were not fit to become part of the fellowship again. Both sides seemed to have plausible arguments. Many lapsi were reinstated into the fellowship, while others were not.


Modern-day believers in the West have not faced persecution at such a violent or life-threatening level. But, growing, dire persecution lies in the future for the Church. It won't be a Roman emperor who demands worship. It will be the antichrist himself!

The spirit of antichrist is already at work in our culture and society to undermine faith in Jesus. Many who once claimed to believe in Hm have apostatized and denied the inerrancy and authority of the Bible and Jesus. Their faith has grown cold and they embrace false doctrines.

As time moves forward at record pace, persecution will become more open and more severe. Faithful believers will be faced with choices that determine their eternal destiny. They will have to make choices between their family, their reputation, finances and their ability to hold a job or being faithful to Jesus. Each earthly consideration is a valid issue in itself. But what about God? Will those of us who are used to a blessed life of ease really consider Jesus in their decision? Can a professed believer turn coat and run from Him when He never deserted us in His suffering and death?

Recall that in Matthew 10:32-33 Jesus said:

"'Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.'"

That sure sounds like eternal destiny is wrapped in our confession or denial of Jesus! What a fearful choice to make! Perhaps it is possible that the Early church lapsi made a reversible decision. Because it was the day of grace, God may have received them back into His Body. Only He knows that.

No such option remains for those who deny Jesus in the Last Days! In the not-too-distant future a 'great leader' will rise on the scene of world chaos and trouble to carve out a peace plan that mankind may follow just by pledging allegiance to him and worshipping his image. He will be so charismatic, so convincing that the Bible says "if it were possible," even the elect of God will be fooled. Each of antichrist's followers will receive a mark or perhaps a chip in their forehead or hand by which they can be identified electronically to buy and conduct necessary business.


Believers in the modern church will face a decision: either choose to suffer persecution, torture or even death because they love Jesus and totally obey Him OR they can renounce Him and receive the mark of the beast in their forehead or hand. Whatever that mark is and their decision to receive it will be irreversible. No recourse remains for those who turn against Jesus.

Those persons who deny faith in Jesus in order to get the life-saving chip (if that is what it will be), will not qualify to go to heaven. The Church will not have to decide whether to reinstate them into their fellowship. God Himself already states they are denied access to heaven! They will have sealed their fate in hell forever!

What a huge test with just a pass or fail grade! Once for all time! The Early Church had to come to their own conclusions about the lapsi. No such scenario for the end-time Church. That is why it is imperative NOW that you determine you will remain faithful to Jesus no matter what!

Teach your children and spouse the same thing! Devour God's word to gain stability in your inmost being. Learn the voice of the Holy Spirit and obey Him completely and immediately. This is serious warfare. Prepare for battle! Set your face toward heaven and never consider going back! That is the walk of victory. Lift up your Lord and He will raise you up. Count on Him.

Jesus says, "Fear not!" Persevere. Overcome. Unspeakable rewards lie just beyond! That is His promise.

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®
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