GET TOGETHER- Persecution: Not A Pleasant Topic
2Ti 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
This week the topic in the Small Group Bible Study that we do on Tuesday Nights is the Power To Endure. The above passage was one of our passages that was in my time of study this morning. My first thoughts when I read it were these. We are always trying to get new people to come to Christ and I really believe in fulfilling the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Mt 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” I know without a doubt that I am saved. On the other hand, I also know that we as saved people will give an account concerning our faithfulness to the Great Commission when we meet the Lord.
We do lots of things at times to attempt to draw people to the congregations that we serve in. This morning I wondered as I read the verse from 2 Timothy if we put that verse on our church signs would it scare people off, or draw them in?
None of us including me really like to think or to talk about persecution. And I don’t have the answers as to why some faithful Christians are more persecuted than other faithful Christians.
I do believe that in our own country now and please don’t write me off as being negative that we are seeing faithful Christians persecuted verbally in a way that we have not seen before in this country. It hasn’t gotten there physically for the most part, but we do see brothers and sisters in Christ mocked for being faithful to basic Christian beliefs more and more each day in our nation.
When persecution comes we must always remember who our real enemy is. It is not the person, but it is demonic forces that are working through or working behind that person. Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Jesus modeled for us how to respond to persecution and told us how to respond. Mt 5:10-12” Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Mt 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
Remember that God loves to turn His enemies into friends. Look at Paul’s life: Ac 22:4 “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, Ac 26:11 “And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
So today let’s allow the Lord to use us to turn the tables on the evil one. Rather than trash talk that actor, actress, comedian, atheist, co-worker, friend, or even family member that may in some way be persecuting you for your faith ask God to help you to love them as He does and begin to pray for their conversion. God wants to redeem their talent and their skills just as He did Paul’s as well as mine or yours for Kingdom purposes. Remember it was a former persecutor that God used to write the passage that we opened this devotional with. It was a former persecutor that wrote thirteen New Testament Epistles. It was a former persecutor that wrote these words to encourage us:
Ro 5:1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Just remember that when Hell throws its best curveball that if we endure the Holy Spirit will knock it out of the park for a grand slam.
Let Us Pray
Lord Jesus we thank you that You have sent the Holy Spirit to be with us always. Most of us have not had major persecution in our lives. On the other hand, I am sure that all of us have been persecuted some at times to some degree. Today for all of us when persecution comes may we respond as You did. And may we stand on every promise that You have given to us when we do.
In Jesus Name
PS By the way this message was not written out of a preacher having one of those “poor old preacher pity parties” that no one ever comes too. J.J. and I are blessed people. We love you all and pray that you have a great week.