Summary: We can expect persecution because Jesus was persecuted, because the world hated Him first and will hate us who love Him.
Faith Expectations Part 6
[This lesson and this series are drawn from the writings of Tom Allen in his book “What to expect now that you believe.”]
This lesson is another in the series titled Faith Expectations. I know it is probably true of many gathered here tonight, I know it true for myself, that when we had obeyed the call of the gospel, accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and been Baptized into Him there were great expectations of what our faith would do in us, for us, and through us. And we are justified in these expectations:
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
John 10:10b “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
We are right to have high hopes for our faith. As believers we should never lose the “great expectations” of our faith especially since the greatest expectation is yet to come, that being the return of our Lord and Savior. Until that day it remains for us to balance our expectations with the reality of living as sojourners in this world. And so let us consider a great expectation of our faith: Expect Persecution.
A.We have discussed the expectations of our faith: Blessings, Forgiveness, Peace, and Joy.
1.Now we begin to explore the expectations of: Trials, Temptation, Persecution and Doubt.
2.Bad News some might say but I hope through the course of these lessons we will see that even Bad News is pretty good when God is in the mix.
Read 1 Peter 4:12-16
B.Jesus clarified the issue of persecution:
3.Read John 15:18-25.
4.Bad News some might say but I hope through the course of these lessons we will see that even Bad News is pretty good when God is in the mix.
5.In this passage, Jesus explains why we will face persecution
C.We don’t fit in.
1.As believers we do not belong to the world, we don’t fit in with the crowd.
a.Christians stand out for as much as what we believe as for what we refuse to believe.
b.We will face harassment equally for those things we do as for those things we do not do.
c.No one likes to be the “odd man out” but because we do not belong to the world we are considered “strangers and exiles on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13b
2.We all want to “fit in” and be accepted by those around us; our families, co-workers, classmates, and neighbors.
a.But when we must choose between anyone or anything and Jesus, there is really no choice at all.
b.Matthew 10:37-38 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
3.We are guilty be association, we love what God loves and hate what God hates.
a.That puts us at odds with all outside His kingdom and we will take some heat from the world because of it.
D.The Truth Hurts
1.We will be persecuted as Christ was for telling it like it is.
a.John 15:22 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.”
b.Jesus told the truth that set people free but that same truth convicted the religious hierarchy of the day and they hated Him for it, they killed Him for it.
c.When we stand for the truth there will be those who take offense and we may expect persecution because of it.
1.2 Timothy 3:12 “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
2.Our lifestyle will be considered strange and offensive because it will not conform to what the world sees as the norm.
3.Those who reject Jesus will reject us as well.
II.Responding to Persecution
A.We are called to an aggressive posture in response to persecution, one of acceptance, joy, and appropriate measure.
1.First, we respond with acceptance because persecution is to be expected.
a.Jesus faced persecution from nearly the very beginning of His ministry until His death on the cross.
b.Old Testament Prophets and New Testament saints all faced harassments, scourgings, beatings, imprisonment, and martyrdom.
c.Christ is our example
1 Peter 2:21-23 “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;”