When Persecution Arises

Regular Christians: The Importance of Each Member in the Body of Christ

Often when persecution arises against the church, it will be the “leaders” who are targeted – elders, preachers, or others who are seen as strong and influential members of the church. This is designed to stop the “followers” in the church. This may work in man-made organizations and groups (cf. Acts 5:36-38); but in the Lord’s church, we are not following men – we follow Christ. Jesus taught that all who follow Him – regardless of whether they were official or unofficial “leaders” in the church – must be willing to endure persecution: “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great” (Matthew 5:11-12). When we are persecuted, we “share the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 4:13) as we follow Him.

Antipas lost his life when he refused to deny the faith. The promise stated to the church at Smyrna would have applied to him as well: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). That promise also applies to us today. Death is a certainty for each one of us (Hebrews 9:27), yet we do not know when that time may be. It is possible that it could be hastened by persecution. If that is the case, let us follow the example of Antipas, the Lord’s “faithful one,” and remain faithful no matter what the cost.


The above post is an excerpt from the book, Regular Christians: The Importance of Each Member in the Body of Christ by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Poverty and Inequality

Regular Christians: The Importance of Each Member in the Body of Christ

Contrary to the way that many people want to portray Jesus, He did not come to bring social and economic equality. When someone demanded, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me,” He did not try to settle this “unfair” situation; instead, He said, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” (Luke 12:13-14). He bluntly told His apostles, “For you always have the poor with you” (Matthew 26:11). This means that poverty and inequality are still going to exist, and it could be that even faithful Christians will have to endure this type of hardship. Because of this, there are at least three things we need to do:

  • Learn contentment – Paul faced times of “humble means” and “prosperity”; yet in every situation he “learned to be content” (Philippians 4:11-12).
  • Store up treasures in heaven – Jesus said these treasures cannot be destroyed or stolen (Matthew 6:20); therefore, they are preferable. We can store up these treasures no matter what our financial/economic situation is in this life.
  • Put spiritual things first – Jesus said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). The things that pertain to our relationship with God and our future and eternal hope must be a priority over everything else.

It may still be difficult to endure social and economic inequality. Life may not seem “fair.” However, that should not be our primary concern. Paul wrote, “Each man must remain in that condition in which he was called. Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that” (1 Corinthians 7:20-21). Yes, being freed from slavery (or any other oppressed/disadvantaged condition) is preferable; but we can still faithfully serve God regardless of our status.

We do not know if Onesimus was ever freed by Philemon. Given his master’s character, we can assume that he would have either freed him or at the very least he would have treated him with fairness and respect as a fellow brother in Christ. Yet by returning, Onesimus showed that he was willing to submit to his master, whatever that might require. In every society, there are some who are richer and reside in a higher “class” than we do. Rather than bemoan this reality, let us simply determine to serve the Lord as He desires no matter what our place in society might be.


The above post is an excerpt from the book, Regular Christians: The Importance of Each Member in the Body of Christ by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Providing Help from the Sidelines

Regular Christians: The Importance of Each Member in the Body of Christ

Jesus said, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). Not only is a city like this visible, it becomes a target by the enemy. Those who take a more public role in the fight for the cause of Christ generally will be targeted more directly by the enemies of Christ. We cannot take someone’s place in these battles. Yet we can provide help “from the sidelines” to strengthen them. For preachers, we can “support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth” (3 John 8). For elders, we can “submit to them” and be a source of “joy and not…grief” (Hebrews 13:17). For those who are struggling with the discouragement of an unfaithful spouse or child, we can “encourage the fainthearted” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Aquila and Priscilla provided direct and timely help for Paul in his work of preaching. We often think of supporting preachers as a work of the church – which it certainly is (1 Corinthians 9:14; 2 Corinthians 11:8). However, it is much less of a burden to do the work of preaching the gospel (or be involved in the other situations like the ones we discussed) when brethren take a direct, personal interest in providing the support and encouragement that is sorely needed.


The above post is an excerpt from the book, Regular Christians: The Importance of Each Member in the Body of Christ by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

The Day of the Lord

Where Are the Dead?

Before closing this study, it is wise to consider Peter’s account at 2 Peter 3:11-14: the admission of God’s willingness to save, mentioned at verse 9. Please recall our earlier statement: While God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance…that He would have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth…the blessings of His love and willingness cannot exist in the life of mankind until mankind “OBEYS FROM THE HEART THAT FORM OF DOCTRINE DELIVERED HIM” (Romans 6:15-17).

Peter states, “The day of the Lord” (note the singular of the “day”) will come as a thief in the night (i.e. unexpectedly). The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” This is an important fact. There will be no more earth or sky (i.e. heavens – vs. 11). The “works” within the earth (time world) are burned up. Notice two factors: First, the “works” are not only the creations of mankind (Ecclesiastes), but the deeds done here in the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:10). Second, being burned “up,” they are consumed and forever unchangeable! To God’s memory, the good remains, and the evil is cast eternally from His presence and from the glory of His power (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Man cannot change this certainty nor alter His judgment! It is finished!

For that reason, we must behave ourselves and serve Him faithfully (Revelation 2:10; 2 Peter 1:5-11). When the Day of Judgment comes, we must be found of Him (Galatians 3:27), in peace with Him, without spot and without blemish.


The above post is an excerpt from the book, Where Are The Dead? by Michael J. Davis. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Death Is Separation From That Which Lives

Where Are the Dead?

In every aspect of this separation, it is sin that causes the death. There is no real life (i.e. God’s Life) in sin, and therefore, sin is death (Romans 6:23). We Christians know that life comes from God. Therefore, true life requires God – our repentance from sin and our burying that sin in baptism from which we rise to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-6)!

It is fair to say that unless Christ returns first, we will all die (Hebrews 9:27; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Only two in all of Holy Writ escaped physical death: Enoch (Genesis 5:22-24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11). It is equally fair to say that unless the soul possesses the life of Christ (Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:1-4) when it departs from this tabernacle called a body, that soul will not live eternally with God! Thus, realizing the certainty of physical death, it is imperative we realize the certainty of spiritual life (Romans 8:6).


The above post is an excerpt from the book, Where Are The Dead? by Michael J. Davis. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!