1 Corinthians 4 Lesson

Persecution!

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

That is a scary thing to read!

We may all want to live godly lives, but how many of us want to be persecuted? If we are honest, that is a quick “no” for most of us.

Merriam-Webster’s defines persecution as:

  • “To harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict.”
  • “To cause to suffer because of belief.”

Paul mentions some of the adversity that he and his fellow apostles had to endure because of persecution. Paul writes:

  • We are weak,
  • We are withouthonor,
  • We are hungry,
  • We are thirsty,
  • We are poorly clothed,
  • We are roughly treated,
  • We are homeless,
  • We are slandered.

In addition to this list, we know that the apostles were imprisoned, beaten, and even martyred, strictly because of their faith. For us, persecution can come in much more subtle forms. We can be called names, abandoned by our friends and families, discriminated against at our jobs, etc., all because of our faith.

So why did the apostles put up with all that and continue to follow Jesus and His teachings?

Why should we?

There are many answers to those questions, but today we will focus on just two.

  1. Following God is the right thing to do. For those of us that believe in doing what is right, this is extremely important! But how do we define what is right? As Christians, our moral compasses are God’s inspired Word, and the Holy Spirit. In the Bible, God not only tells us what is right and what is wrong, but He also puts it in writing for all to see! If we have questions, the Bible has the answers. And for those rare instances where the guiding scripture seems to be eluding us, we have His Holy Spirit (Once we are baptized) to help us and to guide us.
  2. When it is all said and done, it will be worth it.   Consider this, the average life expectancy today is 79 years, in the context of eternity, a mere blink of an eye.   Yet, it is what happens during our short time on earth that will determine where we spend all of eternity.   If we live for ourselves, we will spend our lives pursuing fleshly lusts and disobeying God.   This path leads to eternity in Hell.   However, if we follow Jesus and strive to obey His commandments, we will be saved and we will live among God and Jesus forever!   The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18.  

So while it is true that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12), it is also true that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy  to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18).

Because of the hope that we have in Jesus, we have the strength to overcome any persecution that may come our way. We just need to keep everything in perspective, and remember two things:

  1. Following God is the right thing to do.
  2. When it is all said and done, it will be worth it.   

We will conclude today’s lesson with the following scripture of hope:

  • "And they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:3-4.

Comments

Carl

People might encounter a Christian and become disgruntled because of the ceiling that living in the flesh results in. I find people resent the Word of God because it shakes their value system. It makes them look at what their behaviours, attitudes, and lifestyles are designed to prevent -facing your own negative emotions or realities about life. When we're persecuted, people are projecting, almost like a town throwing tomatoes at someone for having an undesirable trait for that community. Almost like "how dare you disrupt my false consciousness"..

Reply
Carl

God helped me through persecution by giving me fortitude and just the comfort of the Spirit

Reply
Drexel

Carl, I’m in total agreement with you. I’ve come to realize that Christianity is not for everyone, because it requires you to take a stand. However, this stand is best shown in the way we live, in the way we speak and in the way we treat others.
We don’t go with the flow, nor make decisions base on popular opinion; in other words we’re not worried about what others think of us as found in Proverbs 29: 25;
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” NIV.

Therefore, our decision is base on what’s right, and our standard of right and wrong comes from The Word of God. One of the most difficult weaknesses to break away from is worrying about other people’s opinion of us. I almost lost my life because of this weakness when I was 19, and it is a lesson I will never forget. It takes strength to take a stand for what is right. It takes great inner strength to handle persecution and to do so in a way that is Christ like.
While persecution can sometimes prove to be deadly, however, the majority of persecution is more mental than physical. The Navy Seal have a saying;
“Its mind over matter, if you don’t mind then it doesn’t matter.”

My Brother, where The Lord has brought me from nothing about this world matters any more. I don’t care what you say about me, I don’t care what you say to me: and I don’t even care what you do to me because for Christ sake it doesn’t matter.

Reply
Michael
Drexel

Appreciate your comments Drexel. Amen.

Reply