Posts Tagged ‘Persecution



02
Feb
18

Bearing The Name Of Jesus

No one wants to suffer, right? No one wants to endure hardship and persecution. Sometimes we bring suffering on ourselves because of our sinful actions. Sometimes we suffer persecution because of our faith. Peter says that if we suffer because of our faith, we should praise God. He wrote:

If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. – 1 Peter 4:15-16 (NIV)

The reason we praise God because we bear the name of Jesus is because it is the only name by which we are saved. When we stand before Him in judgment, we who have been clothed with Christ in baptism will be judged “Not guilty.” Those who are not bearing the name of Jesus will be condemned. When we come to Christ, we are given a new name – His name. It is a beautiful, wonderful and powerful name. It is the name above every other name. By God’s grace through faith in Jesus, it is our name now.
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01
Feb
18

Sticks And Stones

Peter tells us that we are blessed when we suffer for Christ. He wrote:

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. – 1 Peter 4:14 (NIV)

Jesus said the very same thing in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. He 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)

You know you’re living for Jesus when people insult you. The world mocks what it doesn’t understand. They call us Jesus freaks or they say that we need a religious crutch because we’re mentally, emotionally or spiritually weak. They say we’re all hypocrites. Maybe we are fanatical about loving our Savior. Maybe we are weak and we need Jesus to give us strength. Maybe we are hypocrites because we’re not perfect. At least we admit it. Don’t give up on your faith because you’re insulted for it. Great is your reward in Heaven.
31
Jan
18

Suffering For Jesus

Jesus said in John 15 that the world would hate His followers because it hated Him first. Peter’s audience was being persecuted and they were experiencing that hate firsthand. Peter said this should not have come as a surprise to them. He wrote:

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. – 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)

If we suffer for our faith, our sufferings are a participation in the sufferings of Jesus. In Acts 5, Peter and his fellow apostles were flogged for preaching in the name of Jesus. It says that they left rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to suffer disgrace for the Name of Jesus. Instead of getting angry over persecution, let us rejoice knowing that God sees it and He will have the final say. May we be counted worthy to suffer for Christ.
19
Jan
18

We Don’t Live That Way Anymore

Every follower of Jesus has a past. We all have a transformation story. We used to live one way, now we’re living differently. This was as true in the first century as it is now. Peter writes:

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. – 1 Peter 4:3-4 (NIV)

Notice what he says about persecution. When we live differently and we don’t go along with the crowd, we are abused and persecuted. People who live for Jesus stick out like a sore thumb. We should never look down on others or condemn them. That’s not our job. We need to make sure that we are living righteous lives that please our Heavenly Father instead of sinning with the crowd. We should rejoice when persecuted for great is our reward in Heaven.
18
Jan
18

Done With Sin

When you decide to live for Jesus, it is indeed a huge choice with potentially painful consequences. Jesus promised that the world would hate His followers because it hated Him first. Living for Jesus can result in painful persecution. Peter talks about this in chapter 4. He writes:

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. – 1 Peter 4:1-2 (NIV)

When you start living for Jesus and are willing to suffer for Him, it means that you’re saying, “I’m done with sin.” In other words, it means that you’re going to go against the flow and live differently. You’re willing to suffer whatever consequences may come as a result of your choice. Instead of living for selfish, human desires, you’re going to live for God. The world will not persecute its own, but it will persecute followers of Jesus. Are you willing to say, “Yes” to Jesus and be done with sin?
12
Jan
18

God’s Will To Suffer?

This is going to sound strange, but have you ever thought that suffering could be part of God’s will for your life? Peter did. In fact, he points to Jesus as an example. He writes:

For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. – 1 Peter 3:17-18 (NIV)

God would rather you suffer persecution because you’re doing the right things instead of doing the wrong things. Jesus suffered through the cross because He did the right things. He lived a holy and righteous life and His own people killed Him for it. They put Him to death on a cross, but God had the final say. God raised Him back to life on the 3rd day just as He said He would. It was God’s will for this to happen because all of humanity could be saved through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Do the right things, even if it brings persecution knowing that God’s will is best.
10
Jan
18

Blessed In Spite Of Suffering

We expect to be punished when we do the wrong things. What happens when we are picked on or punished for doing what is right? We feel persecuted and not blessed. Yet Peter says that we are blessed when we suffer for doing the right things. He says:

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” – 1 Peter 3:13-14 (NIV)

Even if we are threatened by punishment for doing the right things, we should do them anyway. We should always be eager to do good and to do what is right. Regardless of the consequences of doing what is right, we should live lives of character and integrity. God will have the final say and He is the One who will bless us when we do what is right. While we may suffer for a little while on earth, we will be eternally blessed in Heaven.



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