Summary: A descriptive message on persecution, includes many examples and features the Cassie Bernall story.

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INTRODUCTION: The Hamas is reportedly bringing back crucifixion as a form of punishment (read attached story:

Hamas Reinstates Crucifixions of Christians

Friday, January 9, 2009 5:05 PM

By: Nicole Jansezian Article Font Size

While the world focused on Hamas militants launching rockets from Gaza at southern Israel, the terrorist organization also voted quietly to implement Islamic law in the Gaza Strip, including crucifixion of Christians, according to reports in the Arabic press.

The traditional Muslim criminal code, known as Sharia law, includes penalties such as amputation of limbs for stealing and the death penalty, including crucifixion, for actions Hamas deems detrimental to “Palestinian interests,” including collaborating with Israel…

Christians are a minority in Gaza, numbering fewer than 2,000 residents among 1.6 million in the Strip. After Hamas came to power, the Islamic group began enforcing sharia law more strictly, though not officially. Christians were the first to feel the squeeze. Some Christian men felt compelled to grow beards and women donned head scarves to downplay their identities as non-Muslims.

Whole Article Available in Appendix

BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 5:10

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

EXPLANATION: An explanation over the ladder effect:

8. Persecuted (which is today’s lesson).

7. Peacemakers.

6. Pure in Heart.

5. Merciful

4. Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness.

3. Meek

2. Mourn

1. Poor in Spirit.

TRANSITION: I’ve been working on this lesson, but the break up for this lesson has to go to Pastor Bill Prater, a Baptist minister from Kansas, who put these 4 parts together over 10 years ago—its awesome!

*Note to other leaders, the points are original, but the main 4 categories have been cited.


4:12 Dear friends, do not be astonished that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as though something strange were happening to you. 4:13 But rejoice in the degree that you have shared in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice and be glad. 4:14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, who is the Spirit of God, rests on you. 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or criminal or as a troublemaker. 4:16 But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear such a name.

A. All Christians Undergo Persecution. It is just a fact, when you claim that you belong to Jesus Christ, and you claim that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, you are going to face persecution. It may look like different things, from being stoned to death to being laughed at because you prayed before your lunch at school.

B. “But I Have Never Been Persecuted!” I’ve heard that before. But it came from someone that never went to church, never told anyone he was a Christian, and lived a life that didn’t look very Christian. So if you’re saying this, check yourself.

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