Persecution
PERSECUTION

PERSECUTION

 

1. Persecution promised to all followers of Jesus:

                2Tim.3:12               Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution

                Phi.1:29  Given not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer

                Mat.10:17               Beware of men: they will deliver you up...scourge

                Mat.24:9 Deliver you up...ye shall be hated of all nations

                Mk.10:30                Shall receive 100-fold now...with persecutions

                Lk.21:12  They shall lay their hands on you & persecute you

                Jn.15:20  If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you

                Jn.16:33  In the World ye shall have tribulation

                (See also Mat.23:34; 1Jn.3:13.)

 

2. Benefits of persecution:

A. Heavenly rewards for enduring persecution:

                Mat.5:10 Blessed are...persecuted...for theirs is the Kingdom

                Rom.8:17b,18 Sufferings...not worthy to be compared with the glory

                2Cor.4:17                Affliction...worketh for us...eternal weight of glory

                2Tim.2:12a             If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him

                Heb.11:25,26          Choosing to suffer affliction...respect unto reward

                Heb.11:35b            Tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection

                1Pet.4:12,13           Fiery trial...when His glory revealed, ye may be glad

B. The Lord is with & helps those in persecution:

                Psa.37:32,33           The Lord will not leave him (the righteous) in his (the wicked's) hand

                Psa.46:1  God is...a very present help in trouble

                Isa.50:7-9a             The Lord God will help me...Who is mine adversary?

                Mat.10:18-20         Brought before governors...it shall be given you what ye shall speak...(God's) Spirit speaketh in you

                Acts 7:55               (Stephen) saw the glory of God, & Jesus standing

                Rom.8:35-39           Persecution...(can't) separate us from the love of God

                2Cor.4:8-11            Persecuted, but not forsaken

                Heb.13:5b,6           The Lord is my helper, & I will not fear what man shall do unto me

                1Pet.4:14                If ye be reproached for Christ...Spirit of glory & God resteth upon you

C. God allows it to spread His message & messengers:

                Mat.10:23               When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another

                Acts 8:1,4              Scattered...went everywhere preaching the Word

                Acts 11:19             Scattered...travelled as far as Cyprus, preaching

D. When condemning God's messengers, enemies often broadcast God's message--thus arousing interest in it:

                Jn.19:4-8 The Jews answered, "(Jesus) ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God"

                Acts 17:5-7            These (say) there is another king, one Jesus

                Acts 19:23-26        This Paul persuaded...saying that [idols] be no gods

                Acts 24:14             This I confess...the way which they call heresy, so worship I God

                Acts 25:18,19        (Paul's) accusers...had questions against him of Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive

                Acts 28:22             Everywhere (this sect) is spoken against...but we desire to hear of thee, what thou thinkest

                Phi.1:15-18             Notwithstanding...Christ is preached

E. It sifts out those who are not whole-hearted:

                Mat.13:21               When persecution ariseth because of Word, by & by he is offended

F. The Word preached even in imprisonment:

                Jer.38:13-18            [King Zedekiah consulted with imprisoned Jeremiah]

                Mat.10:18-20         Brought before governors & kings for a testimony

                Acts 16:23-31        [Philippian jailor converted after earthquake]

                Acts 28:16             [In bonds, Paul preached<+> in Rome--See vs.30,31]

                Phi.1:12-14             [In bonds, Paul converts Caesar's household--See also Phi.4:22]

G. God gets good out of seeming bad:

                Gen.50:20               Ye thought evil...but God meant it to good

                Exo.14:1-28            [God hardened Pharaoh's heart to pursue the Hebrews, so that his entire army drowned & empire collapsed]

                Psa.76:10                Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee

 

3. Attitude to have during persecution:

A. Be fearless & unmovable:

                Mat.10:28               Fear not them which kill the body

                Jer.1:17-19              Be not dismayed...they shall fight...but I am with thee

                Ezk.3:8,9 Fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks

                Acts 20:24             None of these...move me, neither count I my life dear

                1Thes.3:3               That no man should be moved by these afflictions...we are appointed thereunto

                1Pet.2:20                When ye do well, & suffer for it...take it patiently

                Rev.12:11b             And they loved not their lives unto the death

                (See also Phi.1:14)

B. Have joy in persecution:

                Mat.5:12 Rejoice & be exceeding glad...for so persecuted

                Lk.6:22,23               When men hate you...rejoice...leap for joy

                Acts 5:40,41          Rejoicing they were counted worthy to suffer shame

                Rom.5:3  We glory in tribulations also

                2Thes.1:4               We glory in you for your patience & faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure

                1Pet.3:14                If ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye

                1Pet.4:12-14           If ye be reproached for...Christ, happy are ye

C. Do not be ashamed:

                1Pet.4:16                If any suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed

                Isa.50:7   I set my face like a flint...I shall not be ashamed

D. Suffer willingly for a righteous cause:

                Jer.15:15b               For Thy sake I have suffered rebuke

                Mat.5:10 Blessed are they...persecuted for righteousness' sake

                2Cor.12:10              I take pleasure in persecutions...for Christ's sake

                2Thes.1:5               Counted worthy of Kingdom of God, for which ye suffer

                1Pet.2:19                For conscience toward God...suffering wrongfully

E. Examples of enduring persecution courageously:

                Jeremiah (Jer.26:11-15); Paul & his companions (1Cor.4:12b); Paul (2Cor.6:4,5,8-10; 2Cor.11:23-27 ); Timothy (2Tim.1:8 ); Early Christians (Heb.10:32,33); Moses (Heb.11:25); Old & New Testament saints (Heb.11:35-40).

F. Faithfulness to truth, despite persecution:

                Psa.119:51              Proud have me...in derision, yet have I not declined

                Psa.119:86b,87      They persecute me wrongfully; they almost consumed me...but I forsook not Thy precepts

                Psa.119:157            Many are my persecutors...yet I do not decline

                Rev.2:13 Thou holdest fast...& hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein...My martyr was slain

G. Endure persecution because of love for the lost:

                2Tim.2:10               I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may obtain salvation (See also Jn.10:11)

                Heb.5:7-9               He suffered...became the author of eternal salvation

                1Pet.2:21                Christ suffered for us ...ye should follow His steps

H. Examples of men of God imprisoned for their faith:

                Old Testament saints: (Heb.11:36); Samson: (Judg.16:21); Micaiah: (1Ki.22:26,27); Hanani: (2Chr.16:10); Jeremiah: (Jer.37:11-16); Daniel: (Dan.6:16,17); John the baptist: (Mat.14:3,4); Peter & John: (Acts 4:1-3); Apostles: (Acts 5:16-18); Men & women Christians in Jerusalem: (Acts 8:3; 9:1,2,14; 22:4,5;19, 26:10); Peter: (Acts 12:1-4); Paul & Silas: (Acts 16:22-24); Paul's imprisonments: (2Cor.11:23b); Paul's final imprisonment: (Acts 24:27; 26:29; 28:16).

 

4. Reasons why persecutors attack Christians:

A. Their goal is to stop the witness:

                Jer.11:21 Prophesy not...that thou die not by our hand

                Jn.11:47,48,53        If we let Him alone, all men will believe on Him. Then they took counsel to put Him to death

                Acts 4:17               That it spread no further...let us threaten them

                (See also Rev.6:9; 11:7)

B. Wicked, carnal men hate the righteous:

                Gal.4:29  He that was born after the flesh persecuted him

                Psa.38:20                They are adversaries; because I follow...good

                Pro.29:27                He that is upright is abomination to the wicked

                Isa.59:15a               He that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey

                Acts 7:52a             Which of prophets have not your fathers persecuted?

                1Pet.4:3,4               [Righteous despised for not joining drunken parties]

                1Jn.3:12  Cain slew (Abel)...because his own works were evil

C. Because truth is a witness against evil:

                Jn.7:7      It (the world) hateth Me (Jesus), because I testify of it

                1Ki.22:17-27           [Micaiah imprisoned for prophesying the truth]

                2Chr.16:7-10          [Asa imprisons Hanani for prophesying against him]

                2Chr.24:20,21         [King has Zechariah stoned for rebuking the people]

                Jer.32:2,3                [Jeremiah imprisoned for prophesying the truth]

                Amos 5:10             They abhor him that speaketh uprightly

                Acts 6:10-15          [Stephen stoned for rebuking Jews.--& Acts 7:51-60]

                Rev.1:9   [John exiled to Patmos for preaching the Word]

                (See also Rev.12:17; 20:4.)

D. Ignorance of the truth:

                Acts 3:13,14          I wot that through ignorance ye did it (Also vs.17)

                1Tim.1:13               (I) was a persecutor...I did it ignorantly in unbelief

E. Do not truly know God:

                Jn.5:18,38,42          Ye have not His Word...ye have not the love of God

                Jn.8:37    Ye seek to kill Me, because My Word hath no place

                Jn.15:21  They (persecutors) know not Him (God) that sent Me

                Jn.15:24b                Now have they...hated both Me & My Father

                Jn.16:3    Because they have not known the Father, nor Me

                Acts 13:27,28        They knew Him not...nor yet the voices of prophets

F. Self-righteous, misguided religious zeal:

                Jn.16:2    Whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service (See also Isa.66:5)

                Acts 13:50             Jews stirred up the devout & honourable women

                Acts 21:27-32        Men of Israel, help: This is the man that teacheth

                Acts 22:3,4            Zealous...I persecuted this way unto the death

                Acts 23:12-14        [40 men vowed & conspired to kill Paul]

                Acts 26:9-11          I thought I ought to do many things contrary to Jesus

                Gal.1:13,14             Persecuted...being exceedingly zealous of traditions

                Phi.3:6    Concerning zeal, persecuting the church

G. For breaking religious traditions & doctrines:

                Mat.12:10-14         Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days?

                Jn.5:16    [Angry Jews seek to kill Jesus for healing on Sabbath]

                Jn.9:16a  This man is not of God, because He keepeth not

                Jn.10:31-33             For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy

H. Religious jealousy & fear of competition:

                Mat.27:18               For He knew that for envy they had delivered Him Mk.11:18 Feared Him, because people astonished at His doctrine

                Acts 13:44,45        When the Jews saw the multitudes...filled with envy

                Acts 17:5               Jews which believed not, moved with envy...assaulted

I. Because we do not belong to this world:

                Jn.15:19  Because ye are not of world...the world hateth you

                Jn.17:14  World hated them, because they are not of the world

                1Jn.4:5,6 They are of the world...we are of God

J. Persecution by corrupt rich:

                Acts 19:23-27        By this craft we have our wealth...but Paul persuaded

                Jam.2:6b,7              Rich men oppress, draw you before judgment seat

                Rev.17:1-6,18         That great city...drunken with the blood of saints

K. Wickedness, pride:

                Psa.10:2  The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor

                Psa.74:22                The foolish man reproacheth Thee daily

                Psa.119:69a            The proud have forged a lie against me

L. For refusing to compromise faith:

                Dan.3:14-20           We will not serve thy gods, nor worship the...image

                Dan.6:4,5                [Jealous princes accuse Daniel regarding his faith]

M. For refusing to worship the Antichrist & his image:

                Rev.13:14-17          As many as would not worship the image...be killed

                Rev.20:4 Beheaded...had not worshipped the beast

N. For no valid reason at all:

                Psa.119:86b           They persecute me wrongfully

                Psa.119:161            Princes have persecuted me without a cause

                Jn.15:25  They hated Me without a cause (See also Psa.69:4)

 

5. How: Persecutors usually begin with verbal attacks:

A. Slander, infamy, lies:

                Psa.69:9-12            I became a proverb to them...they speak against me

                Psa.119:51a            The proud have had me greatly in derision

                Mat.5:11 Men shall revile you...& say all manner of evil

                Lk.6:22    Men shall reproach you, & cast out your name as evil

                Lk.22:63-65            Men that held Jesus mocked Him...blasphemously spake

                Acts 14:2               Made their minds evil affected against the brethren

                Acts 28:22b           This sect...everywhere it is spoken against

                1Cor.4:13                Defamed...we are made as the filth of the world

                (See also Psa.35:16,21)

B. Persecutors twist words to defame:

                Isa.29:21 Make a man an offender for a word...lay a snare

                Isa.56:5   Every day they wrest My Words...their thoughts evil

                Mat.22:15               Took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk

                Mk.12:13                They send Pharisees...to catch Him in His words

                Lk.11:53,54             Seeking to catch something out of His mouth, that they might accuse Him

                Lk.20:20  Take hold of His Words...deliver Him to the governor

C. Lying accusations & false charges:

                Psa.35:11                False witnesses...laid to my charge things I knew not

                Mat.26:59-61         Chief priests...sought false witness against Jesus

                Lk.23:2    We found this fellow perverting the nation, & forbidding to give tribute (pay taxes)

                Lk.23:5    [Sedition] He stirreth up the people

                Jer.38:4   [Treason] Seeketh not the welfare...but the hurt

                Acts 6:11-13          We have heard him speak blasphemous words

                Acts 16:19-21        These men exceedingly trouble city...teach customs

                Acts 17:5-7            These...do contrary to the decrees of Caesar

                Acts 18:12,13        Persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law

                Acts 24:5               Pestilent, mover of sedition, ringleader of sect

                2Tim.2:8,9              I suffer trouble as an evil doer, even unto bonds

                (See also Psa.94:20)

D. Character assassination:

                Lk.7:34    Behold a gluttonous man & a wine-bibber

                Jn.7:12    Nay; but He deceiveth the people

                Jn.9:24b  We know that this man (Jesus) is a sinner

E. Accusations of being "of the devil":

                Mat.10:24,25          They called (Jesus) "Beelzebub", how much more (us)

                Mat.9:34 He casteth out devils through the prince of devils

                Mk.3:22  He hath Beelzebub, & by the prince of the devils

                Jn.8:48    Say we not well that Thou...hast a devil?

                Jn.10:20  Many said, He hath a devil...why hear ye Him?

F. Charges of religious insanity:

                Mk.3:21  Went to lay hold on Him: Said, He is beside Himself

                Jn.10:20  He...is mad: why hear ye Him?

                Acts 26:24             Much learning [of the Scriptures] doth make thee mad

G. Persecution through fear of society's disapproval:

                Jn.9:22    Parents feared Jews: for Jews had agreed that if any

                Jn.12:42  [Some believing] chief rulers...did not confess Him, lest they be put out of the synagogue

 

6. Persecution from family & friends:

                Jer.12:6   Thy brethren...have called a multitude after thee

                Mat.10:21               Brother shall deliver up the brother to death

                Mat.10:35,36          A man's foes shall be they of his own household

                Mk.3:21  Friends...went out to to lay hold on Him

                Lk.12:51-53            There shall be five in one house divided

                Lk.21:16  Ye shall be betrayed by parents, brethren, friends

                Jn.7:1-5   [Jesus' brothers taunt Him to go endanger His life]

                1Thes.2:14-16        Ye also have suffered...of your own countrymen

                Mk.6:4    Prophet is...without honour among kin, & in own house

                (See also Mic.7:2; Jn.1:11.)

 

7. The world persecuted & rejected Jesus:

A. Evil plots & persecution against Jesus:

                Mat.12:14               Held council against Him, how they might destroy Him Mat.26:3,4 Consulted that they might take Him by subtilty & kill

                Lk.4:28,29               Led Him unto the hill...that they might cast Him down Lk.6:11 Filled with madness; & communed what they might do

                Lk.19:47  Chief priests & scribes...sought to destroy Him

                Jn.5:16    Therefore did Jews persecute Jesus, & sought to slay

                Jn.11:57  Given commandment, if any man knew where He were

                (See also Lk.20:20)

B. Look to Jesus' example of suffering persecution:

                Heb.12:2-4             Consider Him Who endured such contradiction

                Isa.53:3,7,8             Despised & rejected of men...afflicted...cut off

                Jn.15:18  The world...hated Me before it hated you

                Jn.15:20  If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you

                Heb.13:13               Let us go forth unto Him...bearing His reproach

                1Pet.2:21-23           Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example

                1Pet.4:1  Christ suffered...arm yourselves with the same mind

C. When persecuting Christians, they persecute Jesus:

                Mat.25:40               Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these...ye have done it unto Me

                Acts 9:1-5              Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?

                Zech.2:8b               He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye

                Acts 5:38,39          Refrain from these men...lest ye fight against God

 

8. Compromising, fleeing & avoiding persecution:

A. Bad examples of compromising to avoid persecution:

                2Ki.5:15a,               [Naaman believed in God, but to save his position &

                17b,18     life, bowed down to the pagan idol of Rimmon]

                Lk.6:26    Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you

                Jn.12:42  Rulers...did not confess Him, lest they be put out

                Gal.6:12  Lest they suffer persecution for cross of Christ

B. Fleeing from persecution (discretion, not cowardice):

                Mat.10:23               When they persecute you in this city, flee ye to

                1Ki.19:2,3               [Elijah fled from the wicked queen Jezebel]

                Jer.26:20,21            [Urijah fled from king Jehoiakim to Egypt]

                Jer.36:19,26            Go, hide thee...& let no man know where ye be

                Mat.2:13,14            Arise, & take the young child...& flee into Egypt

                Mat.12:14,15a        When Jesus knew it, He withdrew Himself from thence

                Jn.7:1      He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews

                Jn.10:39,40             They sought again to take Him: but He escaped

                Jn.11:53,54             He walked no more openly among the Jews; but went

                Acts 9:23-25          Took (Paul) by night, & let him down in a basket

                Acts 14:5,6            An assault made...they were ware of it, & fled

                Acts 17:5,10          Assaulted...brethren sent away Paul & Silas by night

                Acts 17:13,14        Jews...stirred up people...brethren sent away Paul

                Acts 23:12-35        [470 Roman soldiers helped Paul flee a conspiracy]

C. Pray to avoid persecution, if possible:

                2Thes.3:1,2            Pray...that we may be delivered from wicked men

                1Tim.2:1,2              Prayers...that we may lead a quiet & peaceable life

D. Use wisdom to avoid stirring up unnecessary persecution:

                Mat.5:25 Agree with thine adversary quickly...lest he deliver thee to the judge...& thou be cast into prison

                Pro.15:1  A soft answer turneth away wrath

                Pro.16:7  When a man's ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him

                Rom.12:18-21         If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men...overcome evil with good

 

9. God will judge your persecutors:

A. The Psalmist's prayers & curses against his enemies--& for the Lord to protect His people from them:

                Psa.3:all; 5:8-12; 6:7-10; 7:all; 9:3-6,9,10,13-20; 10:all; 11:all; 12:all; 13:all; 17:4-15; 18:37-50; 21:7-13; 23:5; 27:1-6,11-14; 28:all; 31:all; 34:1-7; 35:all; 37:all; 38:12-22; 40:13-17; 41:5-11; 43:all; 52:all; 53:1-5; 54:all; 55:1-9,18,23; 56:all; 57:1-6; 58:all; 59:all; 62:1-8; 63:8-11; 68:1-3; 69:4,22-30; 70:all; 71:4,10-13; 82:3,4; 83:1-4,12-18; 94:1-7,16,21-23; 105:12-15; 109:all; 118:5-14; 119:84; 124:all; 125:3-5; 129:1-6; 139:19-22; 140:all; 143:3,4,9-12; 144:6-11; 149:5-9. (Other prayers: Jer.15:15a; 17:18; 18:18-23; Lam.3:59-66; Rev.6:9,10) Prayers for God to stop their evil devices: Psa.10:2; 17:13; 21:11,12; 27:2,12; 31:4; 33:10; 64:all; 70:2,3; 71:13; 119:126; 120:2.

B. God's judgment on persecutors:

                Deut.30:7               Lord put curses on enemies which persecuted thee

                2Chr.36:16              Wrath of the Lord arose...till there was no remedy

                Psa.7:11-16            He ordaineth His arrows against the persecutors

                Psa.11:2,5,6            Upon the wicked He shall rain fire & brimstone

                Psa.37:12-15,17     The Lord shall laugh at him, for He seeth that his day is coming

                Psa.105:14,15         Touch not Mine anointed, & do My prophets no harm

                Isa.54:15 Whosoever shall gather against thee shall fall

                Jer.20:2-6                [Pashur persecuted Jeremiah, then Jeremiah prophesied God's judgments against him]

                Lk.11:49-51            Blood of prophets...be required of this generation

                1Thes.2:15,16        Forbidding us to speak...wrath is come upon them

                2Thes.1:6-9            Recompense tribulation to them that trouble you

                (See also Rev.16:1-6; 18:2,4-8.)

 

10. Endtime persecution:

A. Suffering persecution in last days:

                Mat.24:9,10            Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted

                Mk.13:12,13           Brother shall betray brother to death

                Lk.21:12,16,17        They shall lay their hands on you, & persecute

                2Tim.3:1-3              In the last days...despisers of them that are good

B. Persecution during the great tribulation:

                Mat.24:21,22          Then shall be great tribulation...except those days

                Mk.13:19                In those days shall be affliction, such as was not

                Dan.11:33-35         They shall fall by sword, flame, captivity, spoil... they shall be helped

                Rev.12:12,13,17     Dragon persecuted the woman (church)...war with remnant

                Rev.13:7 It was given unto him to make war with the saints

                Rev.13:15               As many as would not worship the image...killed

                Rev.20:4 Beheaded for witness...had not worshipped the beast

                Deut.4:30,31          When thou art in tribulation...in the latter days

C. Tribulation saints greatly rewarded:

                Rev.7:13-17            Came out of great tribulation...before throne of God

                Rev.20:4 Beheaded...reigned with Christ a thousand years

 

 

Home Page
Bible Study Index