What does it mean to be persecuted? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I wanted to save these verses in the Sermon for further looking. In these, Jesus talks about persecution, so let’s look at them.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
So many Christians I meet today too quickly throw out the word persecution. The insulting and saying things falsely can fit today, but persecution is something much more severe. Much of what we call persecution today does a disservice to those people who really are persecuted.
There are many countries today in the world where becoming a Christian is putting your life on the line. Think of places like Muslim countries or countries with a bent towards Communism, like China. If you become a Christian in those countries, you are putting a big bullseye on you.
Persecution is not someone making fun of you for being a Christian alone. That is not sufficient. It’s also not persecution if people don’t like you for other reasons, such as the manner in which you present the gospel. If you come across as a rude jerk and that’s not liked by some people, that does not equal persecution.
Now we are getting into this some, such as the florists and the cake makers who are not allowed to live out their conscience in their own personal businesses. I personally anticipate this country is going to become more and more anti-Christian if the tide is not turned around soon. However, we are nowhere near the level of a Muslim or a Communist country yet.
For people in those countries, we definitely need to offer our prayer and support and we need to consider if we take Jesus as seriously as they do. If your child goes down and kneels at the altar and accepts Jesus as their Lord and savior, you’re likely to go on Facebook and share the good news. Would you do the same in one of those countries if it meant that your child could become a target of the government for doing such? Probably not.
Do we take Jesus as seriously? Do we need to get to the point of persecution to do such? I’m one who thinks it could do the church good to get some persecution for what we do. We would get to see who’s serious about Christianity and who isn’t. It’s easy to state you’re a Christian when no one has a gun pointing at your head. It’s not so easy when they don’t.
Right now, we have it good if we live in America comparatively speaking. The question is what are we doing with it? Imagine if the apostle Paul had the access to all that we have today. What would he be doing with it? By contrast, what are we doing with it?
In many countries, people are willing to die for the gospel, which is excellent. We need that willingness. In this country, we don’t have that yet, at least not on a mass scale. So now, let’s ask ourselves a different question and this is one that’s actually much harder to ask than “Are you willing to die for Jesus?”
“Are you willing to live for Jesus?”