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!

What the First Disciples Endured

The Plan of Salvation (John H. Hundley)

It is not the experience of any age of the world, that twelve men will willingly and mutually co- operate to propagate a lie, which can be readily proven to be a lie by their contemporaries. And this becomes still more incredible when we consider that their whole lives in every other respect are blameless, and the doctrines they teach are of the purest and sublimest character, for the promulging and teaching of which they are led, some to the stake, others to the wheel and the rack, and others yet again are sawn and torn asunder, or are cast to wild beasts, to be devoured and cruelly mangled for the gratification of unbelieving and revengeful enemies.

No, reader, it is not in human nature to endure what the first disciples of Christ endured for the sake of the Cross, merely for the purpose of propagating a lie. They were always prepared to give a reason for the hope that was in them, and confident of a glorious immortality beyond the grave, they met all the tortures their enemies could inflict upon them with cheerfulness; and as the swan is fabled to sing sweetest when nighest death, so did the early martyrs with a more joyful shout sound the anthems of praise just before entering the fiery furnace, or the wild beasts’ den, for they felt that soon would they stand redeemed in the presence of the great King, whenceforth their harps would be of gold, and their victorious shout ever more would rise, Hallelujah! the Lord God omnipotent reigneth! Praise Him, all you his saints! For His mercy endureth forever, even from everlasting to everlasting!


The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Plan of Salvation: Made Plain to the Sinner by John H. Hundley. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Take Courage: Lessons from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (Excerpt)

The following is an excerpt from the book, Take Courage: Eight Lessons from Men of Faith.

Take Courage (cover)As we face an uncertain future, we must learn a few lessons from the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

First, we must trust in God, even if we become a target. The Hebrew writer quoted from the Psalms when he wrote, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6; cf. Psalm 118:6). In reality, man can do many things to harm us. The Hebrew writer listed some of the experiences of these brethren earlier in his epistle: “But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated” (Hebrews 10:32-33). We may even have to face physical death (Revelation 2:10). But even if we are targeted and “considered as sheep to be slaughtered…we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:36-37). Even if we are singled out for persecution, we can still hope in the Lord.

Second, we must beware of “second chances” to sin, compromise, or deny the Lord. God has promised a “way of escape” for every temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). But He has not promised a similar way of escape for every persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). We should not view a second chance to sin, compromise, or deny the Lord as a legitimate way to escape persecution. We must obey the Lord and stand for what is right, regardless of the consequences.

Third, we must trust in God, even if our future is uncertain. God may have the power to do something, but that does not mean that He will do it. His will is not the same as ours. “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Even when we pray, we must recognize that His will is what will be done (1 John 5:14-15). We must have faith in God no matter what lies ahead. The Christians in Smyrna were told that they were going to face imprisonment, tribulation, and death (Revelation 2:10). The Lord did not tell them that if they hoped and prayed fervently enough, that they could be assured of a deliverance from their persecution. Instead, they simply needed to be “faithful until death.” Sadly, some lose their faith in God when He allows them to suffer in this life. It is important to remember the basis of true faith: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Faith is not to be based upon God doing what we want Him to do. Our future is uncertain, but our faith in the Lord must be firmly anchored and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19).

You can read more about the courage of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego and others in Take Courage: Eight Lessons from Men of Faith. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Civil Government: Chapter 9 – Our Responsibility to Civil Authorities (Excerpt)

Civil Government - coverPaul said it was “good and acceptable in the sight of God” that we are permitted to “lead a tranquil and quiet life” (1 Timothy 2:2-3). But why does God see this as good and acceptable? The answer is in the next verse: “Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). The implication here is that a government that does not meet its divinely given role is a threat and an obstacle to the spread of the gospel.

The purpose of praying for a tranquil and quiet life is not for our own comfort or prosperity. Those are certainly benefits, but the primary purpose is something far more important than those.

The purpose of a tranquil and quiet life is so that the gospel can be taught freely and openly so that others can hear it. Once they hear it and believe it, they can obey it without interference. Those who have obeyed it can continue to follow the Lord and lead others to Him. These things can happen amidst persecution, but they happen far more effectively without persecution.

So we must pray “for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:2-4).

You can read more about our responsibility to civil authorities in Civil Government: What the Bible Says About Its Origin, History, Nature, and Role. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Civil Government: Chapter 7 – The Perils of a Strong, Centralized Government (Excerpt)

Civil Government - coverExpect persecution — It should not surprise us that persecution will come from the government as it grows more powerful. Those who set themselves up as god will persecute believers of the one true God. Persecution is a reality for Christians anyway (2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12,16); and it is often worst when the source is government. Since the church was established in the first century, severe persecution is often the work of the civil authorities.

Do not be caught off guard by this. Instead, be ready for it; and do not be intimidated. The second time Peter and John were brought before the Council, they were told: “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” Were they intimidated? Not at all. They simply answered, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:28-29). One day the government may try to stop you from serving God, assembling with fellow Christians, or teaching the gospel to others. When this happens, do not be afraid. Peter later wrote, “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed, ‘And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled’” (1 Peter 3:14).

You can read more about the perils of a strong, centralized government in Civil Government: What the Bible Says About Its Origin, History, Nature, and Role. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!