I was going to blog about something trite, but things are so intense on this particular topic, it’s on my mind.
Persecution for His name sake.
For following Jesus Christ, and declaring it, to Him, ourselves, others.
It’s something that many Christians have experienced, whether in the workplace, or home, among friends, acquaintances. Yeah, those we know, all too well. And these aren’t easy to go through. But violent persecution is something far from most of us in the Western world. It’s meant for Christians in the Middle East, and wherever else, who are at war with other people, and other religions, and we have to go and save them! But they are blessed, for following Christ through all that! God bless those persecuted for Your name’s sake.
But what about the people who are in our societies, who we are in contact with, almost every day, who break away from their family traditions and religions, to follow Christ, who have to deal with violent physical and verbal abuse, and God knows what else –
What about them?
If they are new followers of and believers in Christ, yes! they will be blessed for their endurance, and strength, and belief in Christ and His ability to deliver them.
But how are they to know this, and see evidence of this, if their Bibles, and other resources are taken away? How are they to get encouragement from those who can and will help, if they are cut off from them? How are they to continue believing if they cannot see a way out, past renouncing their newfound belief in Christ, and He doesn’t seem to deliver them from this evil?
God never said it would be easy. He warned us that this would happen. As believers who grew up in the faith, we understand this, and can stand strong.
But what about them?
I want to get that out to them, but I don’t know how. Lord Jesus, please, sincerely now, get this out to these people – those new believers, who break the chains of tradition to follow You – and encourage them. Show them that through this You Love Them, for their Love and faith and belief in You. You know what they were made for. You know what this experience can get them to. Satan knows to. I don’t want him to steal their hearts and lives from You. I don’t care how, Lord. But send this message that someone is praying for them. That someone has them on their mind, and in their heart. That this persecution as bad as it is, it is worth everything You have for their benefits and their children’s.
Lord, I pray, please cover your new followers, who are persecuted for their decision. It is not wrong, but it is difficult. Protect them, hedge them, give them strength, patience, comfort. Holy Spirit give them guidance, encouragement, peace. Lord I pray that there be praise in their hearts even as all this is happening.
Lord Jesus, stay by their sides. Protect them and cover them with your blood. Speak to them, and heal them. Lord your presence is healing. Is comfort.
The things I ask, with a sincere heart. Lord, cover this prayer with the blood and hear it on their behalf.
This I ask in Jesus name,
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you… If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you… because they do not know Him who sent Me.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues [today it might be from churches]; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.”
“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
“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….”
“Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.”
“Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.”
“… you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake... And thenmany will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
“Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; andchildren will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5, 10-14
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…. And from such people turn away!
“…all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will sufferpersecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned …”
“…they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.”
“I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
Biblical Responses to Persecution
But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
And from those who persecute me.
Make Your face shine upon Your servant;
Save me for Your mercies’ sake.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ “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…”
“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
“But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”
” Then they… commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
“Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.'”
“They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
The apostles left… rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”
“When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, ‘Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord…”
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
2 Thessalonians 1:3-6
“… we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer….”
2 Timothy 2:10-12
“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.
If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him, He also will deny us.”
“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for helooked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.”
“Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Therefore by Him let uscontinually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of ourlips, giving thanks to His name. “
1 Peter 2:20-24
“… if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
1 Peter 3:14-15
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you areblessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.”But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
1 Peter 4:12-13
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings,that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
1 John 3:13
“Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.”
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, thedevil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Unbiblical Responses: Sin & Compromise
“…hear the parable of the sower: … But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.”
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes….”
2 Timothy 4:16-17
“… no one stood with me, but all forsook me…
But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me…”
“But recall the former days …. you endured a great struggle with sufferings:partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”
God’s Mercy for Persecutors
“You have heard… how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure andtried to destroy it…. But … it pleased God… to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles….”
But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God in me.
Triumph through Persecution
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.