Summary: To inform believers that persecution is part of the Christian life.
JESUS CHRIST’S VIEW OF PERSECUTION
INTRODUCTION: (Mat 5:13) "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."
The N.T. church is to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. If the salt had not lost it’s savor and the light had not dimmed, then evil would not have advanced.
What’s happened to the salt? Why has it lost its savor?
Why has the light dimmed?
Because we have handled persecution wrongly. How are we supposed to look at persecution? Matt. 5:9-12.
(Mat 5:9) "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
(Mat 5:10) "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
(Mat 5:11) "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."
(Mat 5:12) "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
“Blessed” are those who are persecuted. How many of us want to have experiences like that so we can share them during “blessing time” on Sunday?
Remember that Jesus’ view of happiness is totally different than is ours.
Listen to the Bible definition of the word “Blessed”:
“Supremely blest; fortunate, well off:--blessed, happy.
Jesus is saying, “Happier are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” “Happier that who”? “Happier than those who are not persecuted”. This is Jesus’ definition.
“Supremely blessed” are those “...when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."
“Fortunate” - “...are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."
“Well-off” are ye who are persecuted.
(Mat 5:12) "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." We are missing something that the 1st Century Christians had.
We have lost the desire to serve God at any cost. There was a time when Christianity was willing to pay whatever cost was necessary to be a disciple of Christ. The “drive through religion”; “easy access to discipleship”; and “microwave repentance and salvation” has destroyed the “Old Time Religion”. Now to serve Christ in any economy is considered to be persecution or at the least a matter of hardship.
We make membership too easy in the average Baptist church today.
Our church would be much better off if we were to undergo a great persecution. I am afraid for us to pray toward that end because God would answer our prayer, and I’m not sure if we would withstand the persecution or not.
We read all throughout the N.T. where persecution came to all those who believed and then enacted their faith into service.
Think with me for a few moments about what persecution would do for us here at BHBC if we really underwent Bible persecution. What would happen if we experienced the same persecution that the N.T. Church did here in Acts chapters 4-8?
No one has been persecuted like Jesus Christ has been. He has been persecuted for 2000 years.
Through the N.T. church.
Through the Saints.
I. IT WOULD DECREASE OUR NUMBER OF MEMBERS
Those who are insincere will run away from persecution.
Carnality will not withstand persecution. If real persecution ever comes, our number will decrease.
Suppose that it comes to pass that to attend church we have to take the chance of being arrested, thrown in jail, convicted and then beheaded. Would you still be one of the number?
Next Saturday as we go to fulfil our “Knock on 1000 Doors” challenge and we knew that some would be arrested and thrown in prison, would you go?
If laws were passed that everyone that owns a KJV Bible will be taxed an additional 25%, would you get rid of yours?
Suppose with me that to be a member of an Independent Baptist Church means being persecuted severely, would you continue with your membership here?
Persecution would decrease our number of members.
II. IT WOULD DRAW THE TRUE MEMBERSHIP CLOSER TO GOD Acts 4:29-31.
If it draws us closer to God, then we should welcome persecution. We should covet after it. Anyone who is drawn closer to God for any reason is much better off. God’s primary desire for us is to conform us to the image of His Son.
There is no cost that is too great to pay for the accomplishment of being conformed to the image of Christ. If persecution would do that we should welcome the thought of that happening.