Is Christian persecution a problem for us or is it just part of what being a Christian is about?
In this episode, we will examine how Christians who experience religious freedom view Christian persecution. We often see it as a problem that must be overcome, when the scriptures bear out that we will suffer for our faith. The question is whether or not we are willing to endure persecution for us and our families. If the answer is no, then we need to be asking what is Jesus worth to us? Is he worth it?
We believe so, and the Bible bears this out over again. Jesus himself prepared his disciples on the eve of his own death:
Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. – John 15:20-21 (ESV)
Peter took this teaching to heart, especially after his cowardice on that same night. He wrote to Christians in 63 AD to prepare them for the persecution of Nero which would come about in the next year. In that letter he states:
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. — 1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV)
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. — 1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV)
And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. — 1 Peter 4:18-19 (ESV)
So we need to heed the warnings of Peter so that WHEN persecution comes this way we are “armed” for it.