Blessed are the Persecuted
By Ron Graham
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for
righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10.
Can we, as believers, actually look at persecution as a blessing? There
probably isn’t a Christian alive today who is looking forward to a
future filled with persecution with much excitement. Ours is the kingdom
of Heaven and we will be persecuted before we leave this earth. Jesus’
Church has been persecuted from the outset. If we are truly His
followers then we had better get used to the idea of persecution, and
soon. Yes, even in America. (and Australia)
Have you noticed that the news media will put the name “Christian” on
anything they perceive to be something they can use to condemn the
Church? A Christian Evangelist who took young girls across state lines
to engage in sex has, in the media’s view, been newsworthy for weeks
now. A Christian drifter on the beach in California was recently linked
to killing two couples. The actual headlines themselves are quite
telling. They show just how much disdain the secular news media has for
all Christians. We’re hated and persecuted as the followers of Jesus
Christ and condemned right along with the sex perverts and murderers.
American (Australian) media, being mostly secular, hasn’t a clue as to what it means
to be a Christian. Through their ignorance of the truth, they seem to
lump all professing Christians together in the same bad light. That’s
like saying all Americans agree and follow Obama because he’s been
elected president of the United States, which, as most of you well know,
would be a huge error.
If believers are guilty by association then yes, I’m guilty. But my
guilt lies in being a devout follower of my Lord Jesus Christ, not with
deviants who erroneously claim a kinship in His name. For example, I and
many of my brethren claim no association with the man occupying the Oval
Office. Although he claims to be a Christian, the lack of fruit in his
life would move him closer to claiming a kinship with the aforementioned
miscreants than with Christians. There’s no one who can legitimately
claim a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and yet wholeheartedly
stand against Him. That’s a notion wrought with failure. Christians
don’t persecute Christians.
If there is any way to persecute the Church or to put an unfavourable
look on us, the secular media will find it, even if they have to print
half truths and misleading facts. Hollywood is behind much of the
persecution of the Church. They assign top paid actors and directors to
produce films that denigrate Christianity. They’re like wild dogs
searching out a blood scent from ten miles away. They are relentless in
their pursuit to bring down the Christian Church, and that means each
individual Christian is in the line of fire. If there is any doubt in
your mind as to the accusation I just made, step back and take a good
look at Sarah Palin’s life over the past year or so. Whether or not you
agree with her politics, you must admit she’s endured far above her
share of persecution. And it’s her biblical stance on the issues that
the media can’t tolerate.
The news media and their satanic efforts of digging out corruption in
the Christian community will never succeed at bringing down the Church,
but these folks will stop at nothing in their attempts to smash the
Church and destroy it for good. And they laugh at Jesus’ followers as
they proceed with their persecution of His Church. But Christians can
take heart in Jesus words, “...and the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it” Matthew 16:18b.
Although many believers here in the states
(and Australia) live fairly comfortable
lives, many of our brethren in foreign countries are suffering
tremendous persecution including, at times, martyrdom all because they
are known to follow Jesus Christ, period. “Rejoice, and be exceeding
glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the
prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:12.
Sounds like doom and gloom, Ron.
Mark my words, people; what we once took for granted is disappearing.
There’s a new dog in town.
It’s not that difficult to see the persecution coming our way. Many of
my brethren have blinders on when it comes to viewing the US and the
rest of the world falling into perfect step with one another. Much of
the rest of the world has been building up to a confrontation with
Christians for years as nations execute our brethren, destroy our places
of worship, and eliminate any and all references to the Bible.
Christians understand fully who it is these people really hate. Just His
name seems to invoke hatred.
As we get farther and farther into the current administration’s four
year stint, we’re beginning to see many signs that point to more and
more animosity towards Christians, and as I stated before, this coming
from a president claiming to be Christian. I suppose if the news media
can believe a man who takes young girls across state lines for the sole
purpose of having sex with them is a Christian, they can believe our
president is one too. Looking at all the gross, blatant, evil
denigration made against Biblical truths these days, we become more
suspicious of our government and their agenda with each passing day.
The American culture is changing exactly as promised by you know who,
just like the majority of voters wanted to see happen. Along with those
changes came new restrictions aimed at the followers of Jesus Christ.
Those of us who take the word of God literally will soon find new
un-Constitutional restrictions imposed upon us which are designed to
stop us from speaking Biblical truth. If we choose to stand on God’s
infallible word, we will find Christian persecution at every turn. Then
again, many will just bury their heads in the sand and pretend it
doesn’t exist. That won’t do them any good though, unless they are
prepared to renounce Christ. If not, they, along with the rest of the
Church, will soon come to understand that persecution is most certainly
“Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;” 2
Corinthians 4:9. Paul lived a life of almost continual trials after his
conversion. He endured horrible persecution, probably much more than you
or I will ever have occasion to experience in our lifetime, but then
again who knows?
The way in which persecution can come upon the Church can be almost
stealth-like at first. For example, the pulpits of our churches are to
be silent when it comes to endorsing or speaking out against those
running for political office; any Church found not following these
guidelines can and will lose their tax exempt status. How would the IRS
find out about this dastardly deed? Someone in the congregation would
most certainly need to be a snitch. So, for the most part, the Church
has caved in on that front. After awhile, though, that persecution won’t
be enough. Soon orders will emerge from a hostile government telling us
to stop using that hate-filled book, the Holy Bible, when we assemble
or, again, we’ll lose that most revered and favoured tax exempt status
and much more. In a socialist society there’s no room for “people of the
Book”. Paul knew that only his faith in Jesus’ power and victory could
see him through his trials. The mindset demonstrated by Paul is
necessary in every believer’s life today.
Believers must keep this very important fact in mind: We aren’t
suffering because of some evil deed we performed. We followers of Jesus
Christ will be judged for taking His name and rightly so. We should
never feel ashamed if we suffer for Christ’s sake and in His name. “Yet
if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him
glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must
begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the
end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:16, 17.
The world sees Jesus not as their Saviour, but as an antiquated,
intolerant, religious carpenter, or a myth. They see His precepts as
being way too exclusive. They blaspheme Him daily in their ignorance and
their pride. They use His name as profanity. They see His followers as
foolish, non-participants of their ideal normal society. When the world
recognizes us as Jesus’ followers, rejoice. That’s exactly how we should
want to be known.
Depressing as this world may seem at times, we must remember that God
triumphs in the end, which means we also win. As believers, our lives
are in God’s hands and there is nothing to fear from this old sinful
world, even though so many shun the truth and live the lie that
currently permeates the world. I’m sure there are horror stories out
there of all forms of Christian persecution of which I’ve not even
scratched the surface in this commentary. But through our sufferings and
persecutions we will see God accomplish great things. “Blessed are ye,
when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner
of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” Matthew 5:11. The more we are
persecuted, the more we can revel in our afflictions and bask in God’s
Honestly, after living 58 years in the U.S. of A, having spent many of
those years living as a worldly, ignorant, self-seeking follower of
Satan, it’s extremely refreshing now that Jesus rules and reigns in my
life, to know I’m now on the winning team. During my early years as a
believer I hadn’t really noticed the Church being persecuted. That’s
because I was ignorant of the scriptures and didn’t recognize it.
Persecution has always been around knocking at the door of the Church.
Anytime we believers are forced to comply with laws or regulations which
are contrary to the word of God, whether in America or any other nation,
it’s called Christian persecution.
For example, as American citizens we live in a country that murders
millions of unborn babies and has done so for years. As believers we
know this evil is contrary to the word of God and yet the Church has
been unsuccessful at eliminating this scourge on society. As a matter of
fact, with this current administration in place, abortion has now
exploded with a new vigour. This current usurper of the Oval Office has
made it his goal to eliminate all unwanted babies. Even those who escape
the abortionist and live, he demands be left to die on the garbage
heaps. Your president, America , using your tax dollars to abort those
innocent little ones God loves so dearly.
All laws which Congress passed or intends to pass in the future and
which run contrary to the Bible, of which Christians are forced to
adhere to or suffer dire consequences, are Christian persecutions.
Whether forced on us singularly or collectively as Christ’s Church, it’s
still persecution. What’s more, Jesus told us persecution and hatred,
were coming. It would be extremely arrogant of believers to think He
excluded those of us living in America from this persecution. No, my
brethren, persecution of Christ’s Church is here and it’s only going to
You may ask, “What must we do to head off this persecution?” First of
all, when Jesus says something is going to occur we would do well to
heed what He says. As His followers we will be forced to endure
persecution. He says so. I don’t know how much persecution or how severe
it will be, but as far as heading it off, there will be a future event
that will cause all Christian persecution to cease, at least
temporarily. That event will be the Rapture of the Church. Those who are
left behind and come to a believing faith during the tribulation will
endure much worse persecution.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Church in America, as well as worldwide,
has already been hit with tons of persecution. Still, in many countries
the Church flourishes. Why is that? Because God says His word shall not
return void. Christian evangelism is still prominent in many third world
countries. In America though, many evangelists have turned emergent and
no longer preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. If it’s not God’s word,
then it’s not God’s will. Anything else is void.
What believers need is to get back into a routine of wearing out our
knees. Humble ourselves before God in fervent prayer. Take it to Him
every day. The hour is late and God waits to hear from His children.
Sometimes I wonder how the world would react if believers just started
humbling themselves out in the open. Not just mouthing silent prayers
but verbally spoken prayers before God and all of His creation. I mean
bowing our heads in prayer at a moment’s notice, in the middle of a
shopping mall, in an airport, or in a crowed elevator. Some might poke
fun, we might even be ridiculed (persecuted), but all would see God’s
We see many individuals in public with purple hair and other
characteristics that we find weird. We see men holding hands with men,
and they all defy people to mock them. Why are Christians the ones who
seem to be ashamed of our beliefs? Why can’t we be as blatant and
obvious about our love for Jesus Christ?
Standing up for Jesus in all situations will bring persecution. That’s
just a fact of life. But it doesn’t need to be a frightening experience.
Actually it should bring an abundance of joy to our hearts. Our
Christian brethren would be comforted and emboldened by witnessing other
believer’s steadfastness. The Holy Spirit is sealed within every
believer “...in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with
that holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13, and He is thoroughly
capable of handling any and all situations.
If we trust God to supply us with compassion and love as we witness to
our neighbours shouldn’t we also trust Him to embolden us in the hour
when it becomes necessary to address our persecutors? “...that ye should
earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the
saints” Jude 1:3b.
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of
the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss
of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”
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