Posts Tagged ‘Persecution

20
Sep
18

When You Are Persecuted

Following Jesus will eventually bring persecution into your life. Jesus is threatening to people who want to live according to their own standards. People want to serve themselves and Jesus says, “Deny yourself.” People want to gratify their sinful natures and Jesus says we have to take up our cross. People want to follow their hearts and Jesus says, “Follow Me.” When you live for Jesus, you threaten their lifestyle and therefore they threaten your life. Jesus said:

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 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 5:11-12 (NIV)

Persecution is nothing new and it will continue until Christ returns. Do not forget that there is a great reward for the faithful. Don’t give up! Persecution is temporary. Heaven is for eternity. We’ll be there soon and we’ll know that perseverance through persecution was worth it.
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19
Sep
18

The Blessing Of Persecution

In Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” He begins with several “Beatitudes” that describe what a person who is on the right track spiritually looks like. It begins with understanding the depth of one’s spiritual poverty and moves through a growing understanding of God’s purpose for their life. When you want the things of God’s Kingdom, you’ll become more of a Kingdom-minded person. Jesus says that this person is “blessed,” which means, “happy.” He concludes the “Beatitudes” by talking about being persecuted. He says:

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10 (NIV)

When you live for the Kingdom of God, it means that you are no longer living for the kingdom of this world. You’ll live differently than you did before. You’ll act differently, talk differently and think differently. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb. You may be persecuted for your faith. Jesus says that you are blessed when you are persecuted because you’ll know that you truly belong to Him. Persecution isn’t a possibility, it is a guarantee. When you live for Jesus, you become a threat and persecution becomes a reality. Stand firm in your faith because Heaven is the reward.
17
Jul
18

What Matters Most

The apostle Paul suffered for his faith and his defense of it. He was imprisoned, beaten, flogged and nearly stoned to death. Yet he persevered in spreading the good news about Jesus and His love for the world. He didn’t complain about his trials, but instead he rejoiced in them. He even encouraged others to rejoice about his trials. He wrote:

But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. – Philippians 2:17-18 (NIV)

Could you do it? Could you rejoice in suffering for Jesus? If you could keep your eyes on what matters most, then you could. For Paul, sharing God’s good news about Jesus was what mattered most. Telling people about Jesus mattered most. Even if it cost him his life, he would rather die telling people about Jesus than live as he kept silent. The good news matters most because without it, people are lost.
02
Jul
18

Persevering Through Persecution

If you read the book of Acts, you’ll see that Paul suffered all kinds of persecution for Jesus. When he wrote his letter to the Philippians, he was writing from prison. He told them that they would also suffer persecution for Christ. He wrote:
​For​ it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have. –  Philippians 1:29-30 (NIV)
Jesus said that the world hated Him and that the world would hate His followers, too. As we get nearer to His return, we’ll only see things get worse. We have to persevere though persecution may come and continue to follow Jesus, even if it one day costs us our lives. In the end, Jesus wins. Those who remain faithful with be rewarded. No matter what happens, stay faithful to Jesus and trust Him to empower you to persevere.
22
Jun
18

Wherever We Go

The apostle Paul was under house arrest in prison when he was writing to the Philippians. Paul used those circumstances to talk to people about Jesus. He wrote:

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. – Philippians 1:12-14 (NIV)

Paul’s imprisonment had positive effects. First, he was able to spread the good news of Jesus to more people. Secondly, his imprisonment actually encouraged other believers. It is a good reminder that we need to talk about Jesus Christ wherever we go. No matter what we’re going through, we still have hope and forgiveness that comes through Jesus. His love never changes and never fails.
15
Feb
18

Resisting The Devil

Peter said that our enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion. He’s looking for someone to devour. Christ-followers of Peter’s day were undergoing persecution and tests of their faith. This suffering was seen as a result of the devil’s prowling. Peter said to stand firm in the faith instead of abandoning it. He wrote:

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. – 1 Peter 5:9 (NIV)

Knowing that we are all in this together helps us to resist the devil and stand firm together. We have brothers and sisters around the world who are undergoing persecution for our faith and they’re not giving up. If anything, their faith is stronger. They don’t have the option of complacency. The enemy is on the prowl and things will only get worse for Christians before Christ returns. What will you do when the enemy comes prowling around trying to devour you? Will you walk away to avoid persecution or will you stand firm in the faith knowing that Jesus is coming soon?
06
Feb
18

Continue To Do Good

In 1 Peter 4, the Apostle Peter talks about those who suffer persecution for following Jesus. Persecution is inevitable. God, Peter says, will have the final say when He judges the world. God is able to use our suffering for good. He grows our faith in Christ through participation in His sufferings. Instead of retaliating, we should do something else. Peter wrote:

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. – 1 Peter 4:19 (NIV)

We should continue to do good. If you suffer for your faith, don’t throw in the towel. If you suffer persecution for Jesus, don’t give up. Keep your eyes on Him and continue to do good. Let God have the final say as you continue to do good. Continue to love your neighbor and your enemy. Continue to serve the poor and needy. Continue to pray for those who persecute you and forgive them. This is how we continue to do good and look more like our Leader, Jesus.



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