The 2nd-century Church Father Tertullian wrote “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Persecution, opposition, adversity, and trouble, are not a matter of if for the church, but a matter of when. It seems to me that persecution is an intricate part of the life and experience of the church. We Christians will sooner or later face situations that will challenge our wellbeing because of our faith.
9 – The Church Will Be Persecuted
Jesus was very clear when He said to His disciples: “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. John 15:20.” There is no “maybe” or “perhaps”.
Jesus told them: “They will persecute you.” For Jesus, His disciples, and the disciples after them, persecution was a reality. They learned not only to be witnesses but also to suffer for Him and His message. This is what the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians: “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, Philippians 1:29.”
The World Watch List gives us a list of 50 countries where Christian are still being persecuted. Here it is the list of the countries where there is a extreme persecution:
1. North Korea
2. Saudi Arabia
Why when we hear those stories do they seem so foreign to us? It is because our church life is so inconsequential. We are becoming an irrelevant church. A church that does not challenge the culture with the Gospel, nor show a new kind of life. Some twenty-first century Christians have decided to make peace with the culture and to adopt its philosophy, theology, and even its lifestyle.
I do not want you to think that we should be masochists, and do everything in our power to attract suffering. Not at all, far from this. I just would like the church to understand that if we stand for what is right and fight for the faith, we will face adversities. This is what Jude wrote in his book: “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. Jude 3.”
What should be our attitude about persecution?
The first is to remember the church around the world that is facing hard times. Our brothers and sisters are facing tremendous struggles, and we as members of the same family should sympathize, pray and support them.
Secondly, If we have been faithful and we are not suffering, we should be thankful for God’s grace toward us. We must recognize that God is giving us a time of refreshing. But we should be ready for the change of tide.
Thirdly, if we are not suffering because our Christianity is lacking vitality and faithfulness, then we should reevaluate our lives, repent and recommit to Christ and His word.
My friend, continue strengthening your faith in the Lord, so you will be able to serve Him in the good times and in the bad times.
Have a blessed week,