Preparing for Persecution Apostle Frank Baio, PhD.
God’s Word tells us that Jesus Christ is coming soon. We are living in the last days. Paul the Apostle tells us “that in the last days perilous times shall come.”2 Tim.3:1(KJV) We are experiencing the onset of persecution on TV newscasts, and editorial pages. The Bible is mocked on television and on the internet. Just slanders, maligns, ridicules any other group in our society and you’ll be in trouble, but the wrath of our culture is reserved for the Christian.
In our nation, persecution comes from different directions. The church is being attacked from several sources; the LGBT Lobby, Atheists, Satanists, and the Progressive Liberals of our society. The Christian will be verbally abused. If you are anti homosexuality you are branded a Homophobe, if you are anti radical Islam, you are call an Islamaphobe. If you are anti Atheism and/or Satanism you are a right wing fanatic. There is no avoiding the persecution that our Lord told us would come. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution...” (2 Tim. 3:12 (KJV)).
What will this persecution be like? “…men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.” (Matt 5: 11)(KJV) 1. Personal insult. 2. Physical abuse. (Torture and Martyrdom) 3. Social outcast. Jesus said “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matt. 5:10; 12) (KJV)
The world hates Jesus because He is not of the world. He said, "I've chosen you out of the world." Genuine Christian, prepare for it—you will be persecuted because you are devoted to your Lord. Jesus said “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Matt 5:11) (KJV) Those who stand with Jesus Christ, bravely upholding His precepts against a turning tide, become targets for persecution. If you begin to live with a burning, blazing, passionate love for Jesus Christ that will not back up, let up, or shut up, this world will come down on you like a hammer. Persecution is a thermometer registering how much you love the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no way to be a genuine Christian and escape persecution. Our Lord said as much in Matthew 5. And through the apostle Paul He said, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution...” (2 Tim. 3:12). (KJV) The church of Jesus Christ needs to make preparation for the coming persecution. We need to prepare ourselves —and prepare our children, to live in a world increasingly hostile to genuine Christians. Tribulation vs. Persecution Tribulation is the out pouring of God’s wrath. This wrath is pour out on those who have rejected Christ. The Apostle Paul said “for God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”, 1 Thess. 5:9 (KJV)Persecution is what the devil does directly or through people. i.e.ISIS beheading Christians.John tells us the “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) (KJV) The word persecution literally means “to pursue.” You’ll be hounded in many ways; you may find you'll be ostracized socially, passed over for promotion, and looked down upon as socially inappropriate. Persecution comes to those who “desire to live godly in Christ Jesus.” If you just want to be the person who never takes a stand, never witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ, then people who profane Christ will think you’re “just fine.” Compromise with this world and you’ll escape persecution. If we stand for Jesus, He told us what would happen: 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, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. John 15:18-21 (KJV)
Our Response to Persecution The Word - Joshua 1:8,9 (KJV) This book of the law (The Word Of God) shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt Meditate (Selah – Chew on, ponder, consider heavily) therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Joshua 1:8 (KJV)
Strength and Courage Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9 (KJV) Psalm 23:4,5 (KJV) 4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Nay, in all these things wearemorethan conquerors through him that loved us. Ro. 8:37 (KJV) 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (KJV) 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;Someone said “if most people were arrested for being a Christian, there wouldn't be enough evidence to convict them.”
The apostle Paul knew more than his share of persecution. At the end of his life, he wrote from his experience after years of ministry to the Church throughout the known world. Let’s look at it again: “All who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12 (KJV) That is a given. And almost his last words were: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.2 Tim. 4:7-8 (KJV)
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matt 25:21 (KJV)
John the Revelator “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Rev.12:11(KJV)
Beloved, after the trials of this life and its persecution have ended, this is what awaits us. And we will receive it from our Lord’s own hand. Rejoice and be exceeding glad.