There never has been a time like it is today where Christians are being persecuted for their beliefs. God tells us to be strong as a soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:1-3). God warns us that whoever lives a godly life will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). News all over the world talk about how Christians are bombed, shot, hung, beheaded for the name of Christ. We hear how Christians are blamed for hate crimes, blasphemy, apostasy and being intolerant to minorities.
Here are a few example of what is going on in the world lately… A student at a college in Oregon opened fire on his students and making sure to ask what religion they were before doing so. A Christian woman was arrested and thrown in prison for refusing to issue a marriage license to a homosexual couple. A Christian couple were fined because they refused to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. A Christian man was arrested and fined for leading a worship service in his own home. A Pastor was arrested for holding an anti-abortion sign. A hospital ordered a military veteran not to say “God Bless America” in his e-mails and caused a nationwide stir. Atheist groups are fighting against anything that is a symbol of Christianity; including the 911 memorial cross in New York. Islamic religious leaders are holding protest against Christians in Uzbekistan from burying their dead in state-owned cemeteries. Thousands of Christians in China who worship in private “underground” churches are facing public persecution. A Christian church in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, is having to appeal a decision allowing local authorities to confiscate its building. 20 Christian people were killed after a suicide bombing in the Christian quarter of the Muslim-majority city of Kano, Nigeria. Two Christian villages in northern Sierra Leone were burned down, shortly after most of the villagers became believers. A preacher in Iran has been held captive for over three years for preaching about Jesus. The list goes on and on..
We do not have to fear man because God will be with us no matter what happens to us in this lifetime. Hebrews 13:6 says, “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” God said he would never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He told us that nothing would separate us from his love —neither shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword (Romans 8:35). Jesus will hear the prayers of his saints and he will help us in anything that comes our way. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil (1 Peter 3:12).
Even though Christians will suffer persecution, he told us to continue in his work. He wants us to share the gospel, preach his word, teach his doctrine, reprove and rebuke those that are doing wrong. He promises to give a “crown of righteousness” to those who do share his word (2 Timothy 4:8). Then God goes further and allows us to be his sons and daughters. He allows us to be joint heirs with his son, Jesus Christ. Romans 8:17 says, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” I think that is amazing to know that my Lord suffered on a cross for my sins, but God will allow us to be a joint heir with him.
Matthew 16:24-27 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Romans 8:17- And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
1 Peter 3:12-15 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
2 Timothy 2:10-12- Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
2 Timothy 3:12-15- Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 4:1-8- I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.