Is Christian Persecution Real – Weekly Sermon – July 21, 2019

 

Sunday, July 21, 2019
“Is Christian Persecution Real”
2 Corinthians 4:8-2

The Term persecution means to harass or annoy others in regard to their race, political and religious beliefs.  It also means to show hostility or ill treatment of others for the same reasons.  

More than likely none of us have ever experienced real persecution for who we are.

We may be teased, we may be challenged on our choice of politics, and faith.  We may have barbs or innuendos made toward our race, but doubt we have ever faced or experienced real persecution.  

So, his real persecution ever happened to you or I?  Not me and Likely not you.

So, Is Christian Persecution Real?

I assure you that it has happened and it is happening now.

God’s people have always experienced persecution.  Before Christ and grace, it was his chosen people, especially God’s prophets his voice to his people. 

An article written by author Edmund Heddle entitled (Persecuted Prophets) he lays out some of the following.  

They were persecuted through ridicule.

  1. By the rejection of their message.
  2. Physical violence to them.

As an example

2nd Kings 2:23

“And Elisha went up to Bethel and he was going up, Here came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him. Go up, thou bald head, go up, thou bald head.

The prophets were told to be quiet.

 Amos 713

“But prophesy not again any more at Bethel, for it is the Kings Chapel, and it is the Kings Court.

By unpleasant looks:

Jeremiah 1:8

“Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.”

By accusations”

Jeremiah 20:10a

“For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side.”

Also by l having their message reported to authorities.

By being debarred from attending Gods House.

By having their spoken and written prophetic words violence.

God’s prophets faced and endured physical violence.

They were placed in stocks and chained, slapped in the face, imprisoned in cells, dungeons and cisterns, fed only bread and water, threatened with death, many were killed. 

Many names are not recorded, but same are.

Jeremiah, Isaiah, Eijah, Machiah, Zechariah, Hanaci, Uriah, Daniel.

They’re emotional, spiritual and physical persecution were real.

Jesus knew it was real.

Luke 11:50-51 “50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.”

That may very well be required of you too.

The Great John the Baptist was emotionally and physically persecuted and ultimately beheaded because his prophetic message and personal calling out of a king was not accepted.

Jesus told his disciples in John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

The first Christian martyr was a Jerusalem church elder Stephen.

Stephens message was rejected and he was persecute to his death.

A Pharisee named Saul oversaw this execution and was one of the greatest of the Christian persecutors more on him in a moment.

The apostles understood persecution of mind, body and spirit.

The message of the cross, the truth of the Gospel brought them persecution and death.

Some recorded, some legend, but this is how they met their destiny.

Peter was crucified upside own at his request because he was to have said that he was not worthy to be crucified in the same manner as Christ. 

Andrew is said to have been crucified in modern day Turkey.

Thomas fell by spears in India.

Philip was martyred because he brought a Roman Proconsuls wife to Christ, her husband had him executed.

Matthew stabbed to death in Ethopia

Bartholomew martyrdom was to have taken place in Southern Arabia.

James the brother of Jesus, was recorded in scripture as dying by the edge of a sword in Jerusalem.

James the son of Alpheus as reported by the Great Jewish historian was martyred by being stoned and clubbed to death.

Matthias who replaced Judas was burned to death in Syria.

John was the only one to actually die in his late years in his 90’s by Natural causes.

I believe he was given long life because he was the only Apostle that never abandoned Jesus.  

Their persecution was real.

There is a reason that Jews and Christians have been, are now and will continue to face emotional, spiritual and physical  persecution.  

They and we are God’s people and Satan has tried and will continue to hate us.

Thus he plants the seeds of hatred, in the minds and the hearts of human beings to persecute us.

The prophets of old faced persecution by kings and queens, demonic led false prophets, jealous tribal leaders and competing religions entities.  

The Apostles faced many of these persecutors too.

Satan is the catalyst for Christian persecution.  The early church also saw men such as the following examples of: 

Polycor

Tustav Martyr

Prtolemaus

Tarcisius

Ignatius

From the Middle Ages:

Valentine

Jerome

The Protestant Reformation:

William Tyn Dale John Hus

Michael Servetus Thomas Crammer

Martin Luther Thomas Cromwell

John Calvin

In places like the Nazi concentration camps great end of faith like Dietrich, Bonhotfer were martyered for their faith and for their rejection of the 3rd Reich.

To all these, to all the not mentioned to all those who are not even remembered on this earth, Christian martyrdom was real.

Christian martyrdom today is real.

There are many today who are losing their lives because of their testimony of Jesus Christ.

The word martyr means “Witness” or testimony. 

According to the Gordon – Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts 100,000 Christians are annually for their faith. 

Christianity is now the most persecuted religious faith in the world.  Our most offenders ar the Islamic Zealots.

Over 200 million Christians are denied basic human rights solely because they are Christians.

It is said that 80% of all acts of religious discrimination is directed toward Christians who make up, but 33% of the world population, religious persecution toward any faith is an unacceptable occurrence.

Some of the more egregious nations that persecute Christian according to the on profit group pen Doors.”

Are North Korea, China, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Eritea, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Yemen .

British foreign secretary Jeremy hunt wrote in May 2019 very recently. That’s the level and nature of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East “is arguably coming close to meeting the International definition of genocide.”

He also noted that Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia has reached and alarming stage in their persecution of Christians.

Is Christian martyrdom and persecution real?

It was, I is and it will be.

Pray every day for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray every day for our missionaries who are risking their own martyrdom to bring the Gospel to restricted places. 

The only place you’re going to hear about the persecution of Christians and their martyrdom is on Christian radio and programs.

If we do not stop the ridiculous anti-Christian bigotry in our land on our soil, then I predict as Jesus tarries, we will begin to know first hand just how real persecution and martyrdom really are.

May we be like Paul who faced it, yet rose above it all and he and the church prospered.

The church prospers and grows under persecution will that be what it takes for the real church in our land to wake up from our slumber? Maybe

As I watch and hear people tout their socialist agendas, it makes me nauseous. 

Socialism, Facism and Communism have been responsible for tens of millions of deaths of Christians.

Is Christian persecution real?

According to the non-profit group “Open Door”

Every month 345 Christians are killed for their faith.  105 churches and Christian Buildings are burned or attacked.  219 Christians are detained without a trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned.

1 in 9 Christians experience high levels of persecution worldwide.  The number of reported Christian acts increased 14 from 2018 -2019.

Thus far 2019

4136 were killed for their faith.

11 every day.

2625 Christians have been detained without a trial arrested, sentenced or imprisoned.

1266 Churches or Christian Buildings were attacked.

Christian women are now being targeted as a key means to destroy the minority Christian Community.

Islamic oppression is the main source of persecution in 7 of the top 10 countries on their watch.

State authoritism is clamping down on the Christian faith as are beginning to know 1st hand.

Is Christian persecution real?

Yes, it is getting worse.

Pray for our Christian Brothers and Sisters experiencing persecution and may we pray for one another if it comes to our doorsteps here.  

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