“Prosperity Or Persecution?”

Posted: October 18, 2010 in 2 Timothy, Bible Study, Christian Life, Christianity, Church, Crowns, Death, Marriage, Resurrection, Salvation, Uncategorized

  Perhaps you recall the story of Daniel’s being thrown into the Lion’s den because he prayed to the true and living God three times a day. God graciously spared his life from those hungry lions (Daniel 6). But many other believers throughout time have died cruel deaths at the hands of wicked men because of their faith in the true and living God (Hebrews 11:35-38). Do you know which prophet was sawn in two with a wooden saw?

  Guardian Angels. Although God can and does deliver His children from many dangers on a daily basis through guardian angels (Hebrews 1:14), He does tell Christians who desire to live godly lives to expect to be persecuted by the ungodly people (2 Timothy 3:12).

  The Blood Of The Martyrs. In the early days of the church the blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church. The more they were persecuted, the more the church grew. Those who are willing to die for their faith had and still have a profound impact on others.

  A Bad Marriage. Realizing that his plan to exterminate the church wasn’t working well, the devil changed his tactics. He used the Roman emperor Constantine to wed together the people of the world (unbelievers) and the church (true Christians). It became increasingly more difficult to distinguish between those who were true Christians and those who were merely “professing Christians” for the sake of expedience. This problem still exists today.

  Pressure Increasing. Although true Christians in the United States have been relatively free from external persecution, it seems that the unbelievers are exerting more and more pressure on those who believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one and only way to God in heaven (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

  Demon Possession. The false teachers are telling people that there are many ways to God. This is the same problem that the Apostle Paul encountered in the city of Philippi. A demon possessed girl was following him around saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the [“a”] way of salvation (Acts 16:17).

  One Way. The original Greek text, in which the New Testament was written, validates her false claim. Paul wanted others to know that Jesus Christ was not one of many ways to God but the only way to God. So when he cast out the demon in her, he and Silas were arrested and beaten by the local authorities and cast into jail because her masters lost their source of revenue. As they say, “Follow the money.”

  A Church Was Born. That same night God sent an earthquake to free His servants and bring the jailer to a place where he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. Through him and some other believers a local church was established in that city.

  It’s Worth It. Persecution, whether verbal or physical, is not something any of us naturally want to experience. But if as a result of it, others come to Christ for salvation, and are delivered from hell, the experience will be worth it all.

  Murdered. The Apostle Paul said, “I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10). He also wrote, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). While in the city of Lystra, Paul was stoned to death for proclaiming the Gospel. God resuscitated him back to life and he kept on preaching Christ (Acts 14:19, 20; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10). Would you and I have done what he did?

  Run The Race. The song writer said it well, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, / Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ; / One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase, / So bravely run the race till we see Christ.”

  Driving It Home. If you’re a Christian, are you willing to suffer for the cause of Jesus Christ so others can be saved and go to heaven? Or do you want to be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease while others fought to win the prize, and sailed through bloody seas?

  What Jesus Did. Jesus Christ, the God-man, left heaven’s glories and came to earth to glorify God the Father by dying for our sins and rising again bodily from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). He chose to die on a cross rather than some other less painful way to die. Why? He wanted to show us the extent of His love for us. Because of His willingness to do this, God the Father highly exalted Him and seated Him at His (the Father’s) right hand in heaven (Ephesians 1:20).

  You Will Agree. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord [God] to the glory of the Father (Philippians 2:9-11). This is not teaching universal salvation of all men. Everyone will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is indeed a member of the Godhead who manifested to mankind the true nature of God (John 1:1-18).

  Heaven Or Hell? Those who place their faith in Him alone will be saved from an eternal hell and spend eternity with God in heaven. Those who haven’t trusted in Him before they die physically will be cast into the Lake of Fire to suffer with the devil and his angels (demons) forever (Matthew 25:41, 46; Revelation 20:10-15).

  All Can Know. Those who want to know about the true and living God can be saved no matter where they live on earth. If they will accept the natural revelation that tells us that there is a God who is all powerful and ask Him for more information, God will see to it that they receive the Gospel message (I Corinthians 15:3-8) somehow so they can believe on Christ and be saved (Romans 1:16-20). There are no excuses for unbelief.

  Missionaries. This is why we send out missionaries, support Christian literature ministries, radio or television ministries that proclaim the Gospel clearly and faithfully. Not all of them do this. If you support “Christian ministries” or a local church, do you know to whom the money is going and how it is being spent? Some false teachers are “living high on the hog” and making unbiblical promises to their supporters by twisting the Scriptures. Are you, perhaps unknowingly, supporting those who are teaching heresy or another gospel and a different Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3, 13-15)? Have you been stung by them?

  Invest Wisely. God will reward believers who invest their time, talents, and treasures wisely in His work as they are led by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Romans 8:14). A “Crown of Life” awaits those who die for the cause of Christ and for those who resist temptation up to the point of death, if necessary (Revelation 2:10; James1:12). When we truly love God, we will resist temptations to sin (act lawlessly). We won’t yield to a momentary pleasure that comes from sin (Hebrews 11:25).

  Help? If you would like additional information to help you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, or want to grow in Christ as a Christian, we invite you to call us at 805-238-3549 or visit or web site http://www.kelseypeach.com.

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