VOICE
OF
THE
REMNANT

Persecution

Much of what the negative feedback the Remnant will experience may come in the form of persecution. In many regions of the world where extremists anti-Christian regimes dominate people's lives, such as China, parts of India, Africa ,and the Middle East, Christians living with persecution is nothing new. However, persecution is growing for Christians in the West, particularly in Western Europe and America. We now have a major learning curve in dealing with persecution. There is much we could learn about enduring persecution from our brothers and sisters in Christ from Asia and Africa. For the purposes of this brief discussion, we will speak more to those living in the West.

Persecution has many levels. Violent acts and imprisonment perpetrated by anti-Christians are the most highly visible forms of persecution. While other acts, such as legal retaliation, job loss and discrimination, social ostracism, disfellowship, and angry profane words are less dangerous and more subtle, they are very real nevertheless. (As a side note and a word of warning to us; when these more "subtle" acts are tolerated by a society, they are often precursors to more violent ones).

For many in the West, these more "subtle" forms of persecution are received as a shock to us and are often all that is needed to deter, silence, or make us question our "Christianity". What makes it particularly more biting, is if these acts come from those purporting to be of the faith.

We must remember, that the prophetic voice of the Remnant spoken to wayward believers is not a voice pronouncing judgment. God alone is the Judge. Prophecy in this sense, is not foretelling the future, but rather a warning of what will happen if there is no repentance. It is proclaimed out of love and concern, a desire to see people return to their holy and obedient walk with God. It is speaking a message of truth in love, a truth that does not have its origin in the Remnant's own mind, but he or she is compelled to speak them by the Holy Spirit.

This is also important to remember, once all diligence has been done to insure that God has given a word to proclaim (i.e; prayer, Bible study, consul of mature believers, and removal of self), then such a message can be given with confidence. Whereupon any persecutions, although experienced by you, are not really against you, but against the message's originator - God.

"All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering." (2 Thessalonians 1:5)

 

(1) Rule number one......Don't take it personally.

We are reminded of this in the book of Acts. The disciples were teaching and calling for the people to repent when they were arrested by the religious leaders and taken in for questioning. One of the religious leaders wisely had this to say about the disciples message...

"...if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." (Acts 5:39)

And also, "...our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)

2) Rule number two......Praise God!

"... do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ..." (1 Peter 4:12-13)

"The apostles left the Council meeting full of joy because they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name." (Acts 5:41)

"However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name." (1 Peter 14:6)

(3) Rule number three......Prayer and Bible study.

Before, during and after, maintain "unceasing prayer" (1 Thes. 5:17), and "read the scriptures everyday" (Acts 17:11)

Read also the sections on Prayer & Proclamation. Here are some more scriptures related to Persecution.

 

There will be Persecution:

"In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" 2 (Timothy 3:12)

"...If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." (John 15:20)

"Because of this, God in his wisdom said, 'I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute." (Luke 11:49)

"But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name." (Luke 21:12)

Stay Strong:"Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated." (Hebrews 10:33)

"But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away." (Mark 4:17)

"Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Rev. 2:10)

"Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your laws." (Psalms 119:157)

"For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God." (1 Peter 2:19)

"I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house." (Ezekiel 3:9)

 

God's Protection:

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?" (Romans 8:35)

"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." (Matthew 5:11)

"The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them." (Psalm 34:7)

"They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD." (Jeremiah 1:19)

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deuteronomy 31:8)

"...I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." (Isaiah 41:13)

 

Our Attitude:

"...I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..." (Matthew 5:44)

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." (Romans 12:14)

"Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord." (James 5:10)

"...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance..." (Romans 5:3)

"You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit." (1 Thes. 1:6)

"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12)

"Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. (Isaiah 51:7)

"...if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." (1 Peter 3:14)

"But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God." (1 Peter 2:20)