What is persecution?
In other words persecution is no being called out for being a jerk, but being ridiculed for expressing God’s love through Christ. There is a promise to those that are truly persecuted for their faith.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 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 5:10-11
Why is persecution so important?
Persecution is the world’s natural response to Christlikeness. Jesus suffered, the Apostles suffered, early Christians suffered, and so shall believers in every age! Persecution occurs because of the godly lifestyle and witness of believers. Those who live and witness for God will suffer rejection and persecution from a fallen world as Christ did (cf. John. 15:20; Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12). God uses it to make believers like Christ. In other words, persecution gives us opportunity to learn to die to self and live in Christ.
JESUS LEARNED FROM PERSECUTION
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. – Hebrews 5:7-9
RECONCILE THE WORLD TO GOD THROUGH THE WAY WE HANDLE PERSECUTION
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
What does this teach us about God’s plan for persecution?
What have we learned about true persecution?
How will you approach persecution in the future?