Persecution (Part 2)

If we look at the Bible, as well as the history of the Christian Church, we will see that persecution is a normal part of the Christian’s existence.  However, American Christians for the most part have not really experienced this aspect of following Christ.

Due to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and God’s guidance, our people were given freedom of religion.  Citizens here are permitted to believe and live according to their particular religion’s tenets, or they can choose to believe in no religion as well.  However, this freedom of religion is not the norm for believers through the years.  More often than not, those Christians endured hardship for the name of Jesus.  To them, such treatment was expected.

The fact is that the Bible is full of passages that speak to the reality of persecution.  All believers will suffer in some way.  2 Timothy 2:13 plainly says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Hebrews 11:35-40 shares the harsh reality for believers committed to following God:

There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.  These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

There are many more examples in the Bible of such suffering for Christ.  That is why we shouldn’t be surprised when we face hostility.  Jesus Himself suffered unjustly, and He even told the Apostles (and us) that we would face opposition.

In John 15:18-19, Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

It couldn’t be more clear—the world will hate you just as it hated Jesus.  Why?  Because God chose us and we belong to Him, not the world.  That’s why John the Apostle said plainly, “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13).

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November 15, 2016

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