Some Thoughts on Persecution

Persecution

The Bible plainly affirms that all Christians will face persecution. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Of course, we may not all face the same degree of persecution. Some will be persecuted severely while others, in comparison, will face only minor persecution. Jesus indicated to Peter that he would have to die for His faith even though John might not (John 21:18-22). Today, there is relatively little physical persecution against Christians in this country, but there are brethren around the world in much more difficult situations. This should not surprise us. We will all be persecuted, but not with equal severity.

Even though a degree of persecution is inevitable, we are to pray that some persecution may be avoided. Paul told Timothy that Christians are to pray for those in civil governments “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:2-3). One of the roles God has given to civil governments is implied in this chapter. Civil authorities are to create and preserve an environment in which Christians can freely practice their religion. This means that the civil authorities are to refrain from persecuting Christians and are to protect their citizens (including Christians) from persecution by others. It is good in God’s sight to pray for our government and those around the world that this type of environment may be maintained.

Why should we pray for civil authorities to do their job in preventing persecution? It is not simply for selfish reasons (because we do not want to face persecution). Rather, it is because persecution hinders the teaching of the gospel. Paul went on to explain why it is good in the sight of God for governments to provide and maintain a peaceful environment. It is because God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). When Christians are unable to “lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:2), it is harder for them to do the work they need to do in spreading the gospel.
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Living in View of Christ’s Return

Sun and Clouds over the Ocean

The Second Coming of Christ is a recurrent theme in both of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. It is discussed in some detail in both letters (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10) and is at least mentioned in every chapter but one (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:1-11, 23; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 2:1, 8). The Holy Spirit wanted these brethren to keep this event in their minds as they walked here on earth. These writings have been preserved for us today for the same reason. Remembering the reality of Christ’s return, what were the brethren in Thessalonica told to do? What they were told to do will apply to us as well. We are waiting for the Lord to return just as they were. Let us consider what we are to do as we wait.
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Persecution

Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Being persecuted for living as a Christian is not something that might happen. It is something that will happen. The degree of persecution may vary by time and place, but it is something that each Christian will have to face.
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Preparing to Preach

Man holding Bible on road

One who decides to devote his life to the preaching of the gospel is to be commended. It is an important work and one which will always be needed. But how would a man who has decided to devote his life to the gospel prepare to do the work?
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They Think It Strange

The Christian life is different from the life of one in the world. Paul told the Christians in Rome: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). While Paul was giving his defense before Agrippa, he used that opportunity to try and “persuade” the king “to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28). The statement by Agrippa showed that he realized that Paul was trying to convince him to become a Christian. The very fact that he had to be persuaded to become a Christian shows that living as a Christian requires one to be different from the world. In writing to Christians, Peter said that the ones who knew them before they were Christians would “think it strange” that they do not live in the same manner that they lived before (1 Peter 4:4). Why would they think it strange? What is it about the Christian life that is different from the world? We will notice a few points from the context surrounding 1 Peter 4:4.
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