“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12 – Evangelism, Through Persecution)
Christ followers have a difficult message to declare: we must tell people they are in sin, lost, estranged from God, and desperately need salvation in Jesus Christ. That message may cause a severe negative reaction. Christians faithful to their evangelistic responsibility will suffer different forms of persecution. Some will be called upon to forfeit their lives. For others the persecution is no more than ridicule or being excluded. Under any persecution believers are to rejoice. Like their Lord and the prophets before them, great is their reward in heaven.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, You have called many of us to witness to others about experience of accepting you as our Lord and Savior and many recount of losing friends for doing so. You have stood by us, for responding Your call to witness to others, and even though we were not always successful in converts, we felt Your presence with us, while we reached out to the lost in the world. Never let us forget that the words we express come from our experience coupled with the Holy Spirit, to call other people to listen to Your call for them. It is not our job to make them listen, only to listen for Your call on their lives. We present salvation messaging to them, but they must respond. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, especially for Glen who passed from this world to the next and for his wife Debbie, who is broken-hearted at his passing, and for those we don’t know. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“For peace that lasts put God first.”
“Who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved in this way they always heap us their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.” (1st Thessalonians 2:15-16 – Evangelism, Through Persecution)
Suffering is an inevitable result of standing for Christ and sharing the gospel, but God will care for His people and judge the persecutors. To resist the gospel is had enough; to persecute those who do embrace and propagate its truth is tragic beyond words. Beloved, persons who heap up sins trying to prevent the preaching of the gospel find God can act in their lives to protect His witnesses. What actual event Paul had in mind as evidence of God’s wrath having come we do not know, but what we do know is that people who use their voice or position to make one who pursues bringing the whole gospel message to others, will find themselves under God’s wrath.
“I know where you live—-where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—-where Satan lives.” (Revelation 2:13 – Evangelism, Through Persecution)
The church at Pergamum remained true despite severe persecution. The phrase “where Satan has his throne” could refer o the huge pagan temple given to the worship of Asciepius. More likely the reference was to Pergamum’s reputation as a center where the Roman emperor was worshiped as a god. God’s people were under pressure, but they kept their testimony alive and thus won many over to Christ. Real evangelism always sustain His faithful ones.
2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:9-10 – Evangelism, Through Persecution)
Christians who tell others of their sin and their need of Jesus Christ as Savior can expect persecution in one form or another. For Jesus’ sake we endure, and in the context of sacrifice the gospel will eventually each the entire world.