V Persecution as Should be Encountered

Article aP 1990

V Persecution as Should be Encountered

Article aP 1990

Following are verses concerning different aspects of persecution, which verses also reveal how God's people in the Apostle's time experienced persecution from those about them. Jesus said the following; aP-1

(John 15:18&20) "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. ...If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you..." aP-2

(John 16:33) “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world". aP-3

(Matt 10..17-25) “But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. ...And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall he hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. ...If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” aP-4 (Luke 21:12) "But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake". aP-5

(Matt 13:21) "...for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended" . aP-6

Although Jesus promised His people great earth life reward for forsaking all to follow Him, yet He also said "...with persecutions..." (Mark 10:29-30). God's message to the angel of the church in Smyrna was, "I know thy works, and thy tribulation, and poverty, (but thou are rich)..." (Rev 2:9). aP-7

The Apostles wrote the following verses;

(Acts 14:22) "...that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God". aP-9

(Romans 8:36) "As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter". aP-10

(Romans 12:12) "Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer" . aP-11

(1 Cor 4:11-13) "Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; And labor, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things unto this day" . aP-12

(Phil 1:29-30) "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me". aP-13

(1 Thess 2:14-15) "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews". Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us...". aP-14

(1 Thess 3:3-4) "That no man, should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know". aP-15

(2 Thess 1:4) "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure". aP-16

(1 Tim 4:10) "For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God...". aP-17

(2 Tim 3:12) "But thou hast fully known my... Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto an at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured. but out of them all the Lord delivered an. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" . aP-18

(Heb 2:10) "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" . aP-19

(Heb 10:32-34) "But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions:; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. ...and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and enduring substance". aP-20

(1 Peter 2:19) "For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully". aP-21

(Rev 1:9) "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation..." . aP-22

(Rev 7:13-14) Herein Apostle John asked, "...What are these which are arrayed in white robes, and whence came they?", and was answered by an elder in heaven, "...These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" . aP-23

Following are verses that portray why God's people are persecuted; aP-24

(John 15:19&21) "If ye were of the world the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me". aP-25

(1 John 17:14) "I have given them thy word: and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world". aP-26

(1 John 3:12-13) "Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you". aP-27

Following are verses concerning joy in persecution; (Matt 5:11-12) "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you". aP-28

(1 Peter 4:16) "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf". aP-29

(1 Peter 3:14) "But and if ye suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled". aP-30

(Acts 5:40-41) "...And when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name". aP-31

(Acts 16:25) Herein while Paul and Silas were in jail for Christ's sake, "...at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them". aP-32

Does not the combined message of all the above verses without question reveal that in general God's people will bring upon themselves the wrath and abuse of those who know not God, and love this present world, if they properly proclaim righteousness and reprove sin as is about them? aP-33

Yet God's people are to do their best to not be offensive to those about them, to thus avoid causing their wrath to be bestired against the church, above that wrath which naturally occurs as God's people properly proclaim righteousness and reprove sin as in the world. Following are verses concerning how God's people are to endeavor to live peaceably with those about them; aP-34

(Col 4:5-6) "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man". aP-35

(Romans 12:18) "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you live peaceably with all men". aP-36

(1 Tim 2:1-2) "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority: that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty". aP-37

Following are examples of times when God's people had rest from physical persecution or were not persecuted to the place of shedding blood. "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin" (Heb 12:4). "Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified: and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied" (Acts 9:31). The above rest from persecution was experienced following apostle Paul's conversion. Possibly persecution was recessed as here because those about the church for a time had given up their warfare against God's people. Yet it should be considered that here in the absence of persecution the church yet was multiplied. aP-38

God's people will not stir up persecution against themselves by preaching the Gospel in a timid or inferior way or when their spiritual labors make scarcely any stir among men. It is when the laborings of God's people cause a inconvenient disturbance among men that persecution becomes awakened. Paul speaking of the Church at Rome said, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" (Romans 1:8). Jesus concerning the labors of His church after His ascension said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. ...And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark 16:15-18). "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father" (John 14:12). The spiritual labors of God's people will most likely stir up persecution against them when their spiritual witness involves, miracles, signs, wonders, being filled with the Holy Ghost and faith in so much as they cannot but speak the things which they have seen and heard, and teaching truths and reproving sin with such power and clarity that their message cannot be resisted or quenched although those of the contrary part so much dislike the message. Although God's people will endeavor to not stir up needless wrath, yet a Spiritual love that is anchored in eternal values is not soft against sin and will reprove sin sharply. Yet behind such reproofs is a vivid and burning insight of the eternal rewards and a heavenly love for the souls of those being reproved. aP-39

Stephen before his death had performed "...great wonders and miracles among the people" and had ministered the word with such power and clarity that his listeners, ".. were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake" (Acts 6:8&10). His message just prior to his death was, "Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they [Stephen's listeners] heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he (Stephen), being full of the Holy Ghost looked up steadfastly into heaven... and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, ...and stoned... And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:51-60). aP-40

Jesus often reproved sin sharply, saying to those that resisted the truth, "Woe unto you... hypocrites... ye fools and blind... ye blind guides". "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt 23:13-33, Luke 11:39-52). "Ye are of your father the devil..." (John 8:44). Even though Jesus did speak as such yet there are times for the Christian to speak gently as Jesus did when He said, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28). None of Paul's recorded sermons appear to have sharp rebukes in then as did Christ's and Stephen's sermons, yet Paul did rebuke one as follows; "...O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness..." (Acts 13:10). Often Paul's labors and sermons were followed with persecution. Paul speaking of his Spiritual labors said, "Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyicum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ" (Romans 15:19). Likely persecutions followed Paul's labors because his labors were effectual and caused a stir among men. If Paul's labors would have had little or no results would he have been persecuted? aP-41

God's will for His people is not that they would seclude themselves from blind and lost humanity but that they would rather endeavor to save them. Jesus did not teach that when His people are persecuted in one city, that they should flea into the wilderness and get away from lost humanity. Jesus rather taught that when His people are persecuted by people at one place they should move on to others, and when persecution arises there then move on to others again. Jesus in Matt 10:23 said, "But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another. for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come". Yet it is true that during the 1260 years when the harlot of Rome ruled the world, generally their was no city to which God's people could flee to escape persecution. Revelations 12:6&14 speaking of the church during that time says, "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days", "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the face of the serpent". As God's people are filled with faith and the Holy Ghost and aware of Christ's great commission, they because of a heavenly hope and love for lost souls will be drawn to spread the Gospel with power to all opportunities, rather than to seclude themselves from lost humanity. aP-42

Could it be God's people of the latter centuries (inwhich centuries the harlot of Rome having lost her power could no longer instigate persecution everywhere) are guilty of fleeing into seclusion to attain a peaceful earth life when their were many cities available to enter into with the Gospel? Was the great immigration to the new world wherein few souls dwelt and honest attempt to further the Gospel or was it to attain to a pleasant earth life? Could it be God's people of the latter centuries fled persecution in a wrong way to find a peaceful earth life, and in doing so quenched and killed the spiritual stir they are commissioned to instigate upon the earth? Jesus in Matt 25:1-10 talked of His bride all slumbering and sleeping during a period of time before His second coming. Revelations 20: 3&7 speaks of Satan being loosed for a period of time just previous to Christ's second coming. Revelations 11:3-10 speaks of the witnesses of God lying dead on the streets of the wicked world for 3 1/2 days (3 1/2 centuries or 350 years?) just previous to Christ's second coming. Could we not well be in this time? Rev 11:10 tells that this period of time inwhich the witnesses of God were lying dead on the streets, was a time wherein the world was rejoicing and making merry and giving gifts to one another because they were not being disturbed by the witnesses of God as before. In the last 3 1/2 centuries have God's people reproved and disturbed the evil of this world as they did before? Are we not in a time of great earthly enjoyment and giving of gifts? Yet are we not in a time when faith such as was demonstrated before the last 3 1/2 centuries is almost extinct, and likely the time of which Jesus spoke saying, "...Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)? Rev 11:11-12 tells that the witnesses of God just previous to Christ's second coming, again arose to their feet with their original life and power, which occurrence brought great fear upon all that seen them. Could this reviving of God's witnesses be one with the midnight cry of the bride of Christ as in Matt 25:6? Will we see this revival? aP-43

Very possibly an inner attitude and goal of those who established the latter century ordinance of religious liberty, was that all religions accept one another and do not disturb each other. Yet God's people are not ordained to only promote the Gospel to those who have no religion, but also to earnestly and with power promote the true Gospel to all religions which lack sound doctrine, fervency of spirit, power and salvation. Considering how the carnal man and the citizen of this present world hates and strives against truth as proclaimed by those who are earnestly seeking the warfare of eternal values, would the later century establishment of religious freedom been adhered to if God's people of the last few centuries would have reproved sin with power and clarity as was done by God's people of the earlier centuries? In conclusion may God's people be found reproving sin with clarity and power, furthering truth and the Gospel with stirring results, experiencing the prosecution which Christ said was ordained for God's people, and experiencing the joy therein as had our forfathers. aP-44

(Count 3149 2/17/01)