Are You Prepared for Persecution?

Christian persecution is not something new to us in the 21st Century. Throughout church history, believers have suffered persecution. “They have been beaten, ridiculed, defrocked, and defamed. They have suffered poverty, isolation, betrayal, and disgrace. They have been hounded, harassed, and murdered” [1].

Persecution Should Not Surprise Us

Persecution should come as no surprise to Christians. In John 15:19, we learn that we will be hated by the world.

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (Jn 15:19)

Also, in 2 Timothy 3:12 and 1 Peter 4:13, we learn that we “will”, not “might”, face persecution. So if we are following the Lord, we will face persecution in some way, shape, or form; it is inevitable because we are rubbing against the world’s ideas. We are telling them what they want, what they believe, and what they do is not ok, even if we are not explicitly stating it. By the simple fact that we aren’t doing, wanting, or believing, what they believe is enough to cause the world to hate us. People love their sin (Jer. 14:10). They want it to be approved of, even celebrated. When someone, or a group of people, is not willing to do that, persecution arises.

What is Persecution?

Persecution occurs anytime we are attacked for our beliefs. Attacks may include anything from a smirk, to a laugh, to the loss of a job, to a verbal or physical assault, to being driven from our home, or even killed for what we believe. Persecution takes many forms. But it is nothing new. It has been happening from the beginning – Cain killed Abel because God looked on him in favor – and it will continue until Jesus returns.

The Advantage of Knowing

Knowing persecution is coming, actually works to our advantage because it allows us to prepare for it now. Prepare is something we must do. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be blindsided or sucker-punched by persecution. Instead, we should be prepared.

How Should We Prepare For Persecution?

(1) Meditate on the Promises of God

Reading and meditating on God’s promises, particularly those that deal with His return (Matt. 16:27; 24:4-5; 11; 23-27; 24:30-31; 24:37-39; Mark 8:38; Luke 17:28-30; 21:34-36; Jn, 14:1-3; 1 Jn 1:7-9; 1 Jn, 3:2), should help us see that persecution is not the end. Jesus will return. He will be victorious (Ps. 2; Dan. 2:44; 7; Phil. 2:9-11; Rev 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16). We will be vindicated for our beliefs (Rev. 6:9-11). We will live in a perfect world free of persecution (Rev. 19; 21). Knowing and understanding these things are huge, if we are to face persecution with hope.

(2) Learn More About God and His Plan

We need to know that our God is not oblivious to persecution, as if He is sleeping in the heavens, while Christians are getting their heads cut off on earth. He knows what happens in this world, because He is intimately involved (Matt. 6:25-34).

We also need to know that our God is not powerless to defeat our enemies. Nor does persecution happen outside of God’s plan. He has a plan and purpose for everything that happens in this world (Ps. 139; 15-16; Dan. 7; Jn. 17:1-8). As such, He is able to work all things together for good, according to His will (Rom. 8:28). We may not understand or even know the purpose of our suffering, but God does.

As Christians, we must trust that God knows best and His will is perfect (Is, 43:3). We can trust God because of who He is. Scripture tells us our God is All-Powerful (Jer. 10:10), All-Sovereign (Is, 64:8; Acts 1:7), Omniscient (Matt. 6:25-34), Holy (Lev. 22:2; Is. 43:15; Matt. 6:9), Righteous (1 Pet. 1:17), Just (1 Pet. 1:17), Compassionate (Matt. 7:11), Loving (Ex. 34:6), and much more. Since our God possesses these attributes, we can trust His will, even if we can’t understand it.

(3) Seek Support 

Christians are born again into community. At the moment of salvation, we become apart of a body – the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12). As members of the body of Christ, we are called to seek and give support and comfort to one another in times of persecution (2 Cor. 1:4), bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), and encourage and build one another up (1 Thess. 5:11), as we face trials of various kinds (James 1:2).

Don’t let persecution sucker-punch you, instead prepare for it now, because it is coming.

Question for Reflection

  1. How are you preparing for persecution?



[1] George Grant, A History of Persecution, Table Talk Magazine August 2015, 11.

Why Are Christians Persecuted?

Persecution of St John

For the last several weeks I have been preaching a series on Jesus’ Temple Teachings. While teaching in the Temple, Jesus upset the Religious Leaders in Jerusalem, so much so that the Pharisees and Sadducees attacked Him in an effort to discredit Him with the people.

Attacks on Christians didn’t end with Jesus and His Twelve Disciples. Instead they’ve continued in every age.

Thinking about that this last week, I started wondering why. Why are Christians persecuted? People’s hatred of us don’t match our actions. Christians are usually upstanding citizens. They care for others – they give of their time and resources to help those in need. They are compassionate, gracious, merciful, and forgiving.

According to these attributes, it seems you would want Christians to be apart of your society, your city and your community. That, however, is not always the case. Instead in most areas Christians are hated and attacked.

Why do people attack God and His people?

I believe attacks on God and His people are motivated by self love.

The Sadducees and Pharisees questioned Jesus not as a matter of friendly debate, but because they wanted to get rid of Jesus. They didn’t like Him because Jesus challenged their actions, their beliefs, and their motivations. They wanted Him gone so they did not have to deal with Jesus’ challenge.

You see, the Pharisees loved themselves. They loved themselves more than God or anyone else. Those who love themselves put themselves first. They want what’s best for themselves. They want to do what they want to do. If someone threatens to take that away, they lash out and do everything in their power to destroy them.

How Does This Connect to Christian Persecution?

Christianity teaches we are to deny self. We are to live lives directed toward God and others. People don’t like that. They don’t like being told they aren’t to put themselves first, that they aren’t to always do what is best for them. So they lash out at Christians, persecuting them in an effort to get rid of them, so they aren’t faced with their challenge.

Question for Reflection

  1. Why do you believe Christians are persecuted?


Post adapted from my sermon: Self Love and the Desire of God


The Hope to Press On


Christians believe in the resurrection of the dead. They believe there is a world to come.

Revelation 21 and 22 presents a brief glimpse of that world. There we learn death, sickness, disease, corruption, injustice, war, and sin won’t exist. Instead we will be ruled by a perfect King, Jesus Christ, and every moment of everyday will abound with joy and peace.

Hope to Press On

The reason God has revealed our future is to give us hope. Knowing we have something after this life should encourage us to press on, to continue to live for God, even in the face of persecution.

I recently watched 12 Years a Slave – Great movie if you haven’t seen it! There was one scene in the movie, where one of the female slaves comes to Solomon, another slave, in the middle of the night asking him to kill her, to drown her in the nearby pond.

Death to her was the answer. She didn’t believe she would ever be a free person. She saw no end to the beatings and rape to which the plantation owner subjected her. Seeing no way out and having nothing to live she would rather die.

As Christians we might find ourselves in a similar situation one day. While Revelation gives us a picture of the world to come, it also gives a picture of what will happen before Jesus’ return. It tell us there will be mass persecution of those who follow Jesus. When that time comes, if we don’t find our hope in Jesus and believe there is a perfect world to come, we won’t make it through. We will cave and give in to the enemy.

So knowing there is a world to come, should provide the encouragement we need to press on, to continue live for God, even in the midst of persecution.

Question for Reflection

  1. How does knowing a world to come help you press on?


Post adapted from my sermon Scripture Undermined, Scripture Defended, Repentance Offered


Are You a Witness to the World?

Unity amongst believers, even in the face of persecution, has a direct bearing on our witness to the world. Paul in Philippians 1:27-30 says,

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. ” (Php 1:27–30)

Paul tells us the way we live should be worthy of the gospel of Christ. The purpose of such living is to be a witness to the world. In order to understand how this works out, let us look at what Paul is telling us to do.

A Unified Front

As believers, Paul desires we stand firm in one spirit, striving side by side for the faith of the gospel. In other words, Paul is telling us to have the same intent (spirit) and same feelings (mind), which is to see the gospel message spread to the world.

The Opposition and Suffering

As we stand unified in our spirit and mind, striving side by side for the gospel, we are not to be frightened by those who oppose us. It is only natural that we will be opposed, and Paul even tells us it has been granted to us, by God, that we face persecution. He tells us the same God, who granted us our salvation, also granted us to suffer for Christ’s sake.

Why is this so?

When we stand unified and strive together for the gospel message, even in the face of persecution and suffering, we prove our salvation and Christianity to be true, because the only way we can stand strong is through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Phil. 1:19-20). We also prove the message of those attacking us to be false.


So then, through our collective desire to see the gospel message spread and our willingness to suffer for the sake of Christ, we act as a sign of destruction for those who oppose Christianity. Meaning Christians do not face persecution without reason, it actually is granted to us by God to suffer for Christ’s sake, so that we can be a witness to the world for the gospel message.

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