All who live for Christ are persecuted.
2 Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”
Why People Persecute Christians:
People persecute us, because we do not participate with them in doing things that God says are wrong.
1 Peter 4:4 “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:”
Also, because we reprove evil works.
Ephesians 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
Different levels of persecution.
Everyone who lives godly in Christ suffers persecution, but some suffer more than others. This is dependent largely upon where a person lives.
Many Christians in other Countries such as: North Korea, Iran, China, and many others face very harsh persecution by their governments. They are constantly imprisoned, tortured and killed for their faith in Christ.
Here in America we enjoy religious freedom from our government. Therefore, we do not have to face being imprisoned, tortured, or killed by our government for being Christians.
However, we still suffer some persecution from friends, family, co-workers and others for trying our best to please God in all things that we do.
When a person gets saved their friends and family may turn away from them, because the saved person will no longer drink, do drugs, swear, tell dirty jokes, or participate in other activities with them anymore, because those activities would displease God.
In recent years employees and business owners have fallen under persecution for refusing to participate in homosexual marriages. (See Romans 1:24-32) This fight has now largely been won, because the Supreme Court has upheld our Constitution.
Jesus sends us as sheep among wolves.
Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
We become wise as serpents by studying God’s Word.
Wolves will try to twist the meanings of God’s Word and confuse us. Therefore, we must diligently study God’s Word in order to combat their twisted arguments.
2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Sometimes wolves will try to look like sheep, and even secure for themselves a “job” as a Pastor of a church. But they are only in it for power or money, they are corrupt, they abuse their sheep, and lead them to destruction.
We must diligently study the Word of God so we can recognize these wolves in sheep’s clothing, and get away from them.
Jude 1:3-4 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Timothy 3:5-6 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,” (The word “houses” here is speaking of “houses of worship” i.e. “churches.”) This is specifically speaking of the wolves in sheep’s clothing who get “jobs” as Pastors of churches.
If you start going to a church, and discover that the Pastor is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you need to just quietly leave and find another church. Wolves are dangerous, not only spiritually, but they can be physically dangerous too.
We must be harmless as doves by showing our persecutors love not hate.
Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
Proverbs 25:21-22 “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.”
We are allowed to use the laws of our Country to protect ourselves, Paul did.
Acts 22:25-29 “And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.”
Fear God not Men.
Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Acts 5:29 “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Our life is not ours.
1Cor 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Colossians 3:3 “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
Those faithful unto death receive the crown of life.
Revelation 2:10 “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
If we endure persecution we obtain a better resurrection.
Hebrews 11:35b “…and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:”
When persecuted, remember nothing can separate you from God’s love, and you are more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Arm your mind to endure persecution.
1 Peter 4:1 “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;”
1 Peter 4:1 was written by the Apostle Peter, the disciple who denied Jesus at His crucifixion. Here Peter tells us how to avoid making his mistake. We must arm or train our minds to stand for Christ no matter what.
The Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:3 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
Soldiers are trained to endure torture and die for their Country, if they are ever captured by the enemy.
We must train our minds the same way to suffer and die for Christ, and our heavenly Country (Hebrews 11:16), if we ever need to.
The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7a “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”
How we think is how we will be!
If we train our minds to endure persecution, the Bible says that we can know that we will endure it!
The Bible says we must also be willing to die for other Christians, not just for Christ.
1 John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
To Betray Another Christian is to Betray Christ.
Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Before the Apostle Paul got saved, his name was Saul and he persecuted Christians. When Jesus appeared to him He asked Saul why he was persecuting Him.
Acts 9:1-5a “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:”
The Bible makes it very plain that what someone does to a Christian they also do to Christ.
Many Christians have suffered torture and death, because they would not betray other Christians.
In the book and movie “Tortured for Christ” Richard Wurmbrand tells how he and other Christians were imprisoned and tortured in the Soviet Union for being Christians. Their government told them that if they would betray other Christians to them they would receive special favors, but if not, they would be tortured worse. Richard Wurmbrand and many others suffered unspeakable tortures and some died, because they had armed their minds not to betray their brothers and sisters in Christ.
This is one reason why God commands us to always treat other Christians kindly (see 1 Peter 4:8 and Romans 12:10). Someday they may have to die for us, if we have treated them badly it could cause them to sin and betray us and Christ.
I encourage you to read the book and watch the movie “Tortured for Christ” they will strengthen your faith and change your life.
We must also be willing to let others die for Christ.
Matthew 10:37 “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Many Christians have had to watch their children and other loved ones be tortured and killed, because they themselves would not deny Christ or betray other Christians.
Again in the book and movie “Tortured for Christ” Richard Wurmbrand tells of another man whose son (about 12 yrs old) was tortured to death in front of him, to try to get the man to betray other Christians. As his son was being tortured the man started to become weak, and was going to give the government the names of the other Christians, but the boy encouraged his father and begged him not to betray them. The father did not betray the other Christians, and the child died.
This is the reality of true Christianity. Christ died for us and we must be willing to suffer the loss of all things and die for Him and other Christians, if we are faced with it.
Now in America, we are very blessed, we have never had to face this level of persecution yet, but it could happen.
It is happening right now in other places of the world like: North Korea,Nigeria,Iran,China,and most recently the Philippines.
Those who don’t endure:
Matthew 13:20-21 “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”
Christ will deny those who deny Him.
2 Timothy 2:12 “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:”
Matthew 10:33 “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you cannot know for sure if you would be able to endure certain kinds of persecution or not until you are faced with it.
That is a lie from Hell to try to cause you to deny Christ!
As shown above, If we train our minds to endure persecution, the Bible says that we can know that we will endure it!
It is not prideful to say that you would die and suffer anything for Christ, It is obedience to the Word of God! (1 Peter 4:1) Don’t ever let any wolf in sheep’s clothing, standing behind a pulpit ever tell you any different. They are setting you up for a fall, and trying to take away your crown of life.
Revelation 3:11 “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”
We must arm our minds and decide that we will always obey God no matter what happens.
Some things to help you arm your mind:
- Read the book of Daniel
- Read the book of Acts
- Study the Apostle Paul’s life
- Watch the free movie about William Tyndale (he died for Christ) on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyvr6dxgglI
- Watch the free movie about John Huss (he died for Christ) on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssFJfvHXmaE
- Watch free video about John Bunyan (persecuted for Christ) on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ByKbrzm5gI
- Watch Free Video about the King James Bible (Many were persecuted and died for making the King James Bible) on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGwwScorP6w&list=PLTAdZsupFNCh6ghqPmJWxJmj_OpjsF1jF&index=5
- Read Foxes Book of Martyrs (Tells of many who have died for Christ) Read it free online https://www.gutenberg.org/files/22400/22400-h/22400-h.htm
- Learn about Christians who are being persecuted today at https://aclj.org/persecuted-church and https://www.persecution.com/
- Read book “Tortured for Christ” (probably have to buy it at a Christian bookstore or online somewhere.)
- Watch Movie “Tortured for Christ” (probably have to buy it at a Christian bookstore or online somewhere).