I've not faced any serious persecution. I have been made fun of at times for being a Christian and there have been times when I was treated poorly because of my faith. I was fired at one of my jobs because of my Christian faith. It was a matter of the rich, taking the poor man's money.
I vehemently protested and I followed the money trail. it cost me the job. It was at the same time my Robyn was diagnosed as having breast cancer.
But I haven't faced jail time or physical torture for following Christ. I'm guessing quite a few of our readers have had similar experiences as I have had. However, some of our readers have experienced serious persecution from their family, friends, neighbors, or authority figures. This blog has over eighty thousand hits, and half of them are from other countries, than the United States of America. Heartfelt Counseling Ministries is very concerned about the cruel persecution and genocide that is happening in the world today.
There certainly are Christians today who are beaten, tortured and killed by the hands of evil men and woman. They are persecuted simply because they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thankfully the Lord knows the suffering of his people, hears their cries, and does not leave them when they are persecuted. In fact, because he is sovereign, our Father can use persecution for his glory and for the good of his church. In one section of his 1662 publication, The Crown and Glory of Christianity, Thomas Brooks summarizes various Bible teachings on the advantages of persecution. I'll summarize some of them below:
- By persecution you will give an evident proof of the soundness and uprightness of your own hearts (Phil. 1:27-29). Afflictions and persecutions will discover what metal men are made of. All is not gold that glisters...he is a golden Christian indeed, who remains gold when under fiery trials. Persecutions will show that the true Christian is the one who built his house on the rock; when the storms come,
- All the persecutions which Satan brings against God's people will not diminish their number, but rather increase them. So it was in Egypt under Pharaoh (Ex. 1:10-13). In the 8th chapter of Acts you read of great persecution and scattering, but it was so far from decreasing the number of believers that in fact their numbers increased greatly. Like Cyprian said, they may kill Christians, but they cannot overcome them.
- The persecutions that befall you in your pursuit of holiness may mean the conversion of others. See Acts 8. Paul was imprisoned for preaching the gospel, and he was content to suffer that God's elect might be called, saved, and glorified (2 Tim. 2:9-10). Philemon was converted while Paul was in chains; Paul became Philemon's spiritual father while in bonds (Philemon. 10). Prisons in these times are made into churches. Luther once said, "The church converteth the world by blood and prayer." So neither fear nor faint during persecution.
- The persecutions that Christians meet in their pursuit of holiness will further the increase and growth of their grace. Grace [Christian virtue] never rises to so great a height as it does in times of persecution. Suffering times are a Christian's harvest times (Ps. 69). As one said of the French Protestants, "When Papists hurt us for reading the Scriptures, we burn with zeal to be reading them; but now that persecution is over, our Bibles are like old, dusty almanacs." As stars shine brightest in the darkest nights, so the graces of the saints shine brightest in times of persecution (.to be continued)Please see our seminars at the link below.
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