Discipleship Series – Week 5 – Persecution & Joy

 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

 

What if this life is just a dream? 

 

Compared to the time spent In eternity, it might as well be. 

 

“Whereas you don’t know what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a time and then vanished away.” – James 4:14

 

Persecution is from the world; from unbelievers, people who don’t like who you are as a follower of Jesus. 

 

For many people, this means family, but it can be anyone at any time because people will fail you. 

 

In Matt 16, Peter spoke from the inspiration of God, then a few verses later, spoke from the inspiration of the devil. People will fail us, but God never will. God is faithful and never changes. 

 

The persecution is not from God; it’s from the devil through anyone who will yield to him, but it comes to steal the Word out of your heart. 

 

The devil knows when you are putting the Word in you and will do his best to keep it from taking root- 

 

And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. – Mark 4:16-17 

 

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. – Isaiah 41:10 

 

Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7 

 

 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. – Matthew 5:10-12

 

Jesus said for us to be exceedingly glad when this happens to us, so this shouldn’t be something that takes us to the pits, and honestly, this has to drive our persecutors mad. 

 

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

 For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. – 1 Peter 2:21-25 

 

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

 

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; – Matt 5:44

 

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. – Rom 12:14

 

I want to stress the fact that you are doing all of this with joy.

 

Yes, you are treated badly. So what? Jesus loves you, and you have a place in heaven. There is so much to praise the Lord for, even when people are unkind. These fiery times bring us closer to the Lord and fullness of joy in the presence of the Lord. – Psalm 16:11 

 

I want to add that I know it’s natural to desire revenge when people hurt you without cause, but God is your strength and your defense. 

 

The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. – Exodus 15:2 

 

 Trust Him with these people and remember Paul was devoutly persecuting the church before God knocked him off his horse. 

 

In 1 Peter 2, we are given a passage most people find hard to read.  – 19-25

 

 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if , when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently ? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed himself to Him that judgeth righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

 

He broke the cycle of hatred and revenge when He gave His life for ours. He did it to bring us who were His enemies from death to life. Now we are called to do the same. Show love toward our enemies to bring them from death to life. 

 

When people see us walking in peace and joy, even when they are persecuting us they will want whatever we have. We become magnets for Christ.

 

In His Service,

Abbie

Assignment:

Lessons – Paul’s Secrets to Happiness

– God’s Kind of Love Through You